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The new year doesn't always start on Jan. 1

By: Josh Lew on Dec. 28, 2016, 12:07 p.m.
Women greet each other outside a church in Ethiopia after a mass celebrated on the eve of the Ethiopian new year

Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

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Ethiopian New Year (September)

Enkutatash is the Ethiopian New Year. It is celebrated on Sept. 11 or 12 each year. The date comes from the Coptic calendar, which is based on the Julian calendar that was used by the Roman Empire. September is also the end of the rainy season in Ethiopia.

In rural areas, people spend Enkutatash at church before having a special meal and exchanging flowers with friends and neighbors. Though it's based on Coptic traditions, secular Ethiopians often wish each other "Happy New Year!" during Enkutatash. Some people also exchange cards to mark the holiday.