Ethiopia still retains the Julian calendar, in which the year is divided into 12 months of 30 days each and a 13th month of 5 days and 6 days in leap year. The Ethiopian calendar is 8 years behind the Gregorian calendar from January to September and 7 years behind between September 11 and January 8.
Enkutatash means the "gift of jewels". When the famous Queen of Sheba returned from her expensive jaunt to visit King Solomon in Jerusalem, her chiefs welcomed her bolts by replenishing her treasury with inku or jewels. The spring festival has been celebrated since this early time and as the rains come to their abrupt end, dancing and singing can be heard at every village in the green countryside.
This festival is celebrated by all Ethiopians. To herald the New Year, boys offer flower paints to their neighbors and relatives while girls express their wishes for the New Year by going to each family in the neighborhood singing. It is celebrated on the 1st month of Ethiopia (Meskerem) September 11th every year and 12th on a leap year.
But Enkutatash is not exclusively a religious holiday. Today's Enkutatash is also the season for exchanging formal New Year greetings and cards among the urban sophisticated - in lieu or the traditional bouquet of flowers.