Culture Society and religion
Enkutatash is the word for the Ethiopian New Year in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, while it is called Ri’se Awde Amet(“Head Anniversary”) in Ge’ez, the term preferred by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. It occurs on September 11th in the Gregorian Calendar; except for the year following a leap year, when it occurs on September 12th.
The festival commemorates an event in the fourth century, when Queen Helena (mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine) is believed to have found the True Cross on which Christ was crucified. It is known as the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
During the celebrations a bonfire is lit. This act commemorates how Queen Helena came to find the True Cross. According to tradition, Helena had a revelation during a dream that the smoke from a bonfire would show her where the True Cross was buried. She ordered the people of Jerusalem to bring wood and make a huge pile. Smoke rose high up into the sky and drifted towards where three crosses were buried; one of them was the cross used to crucify Jesus Christ. Empress Helena is said to have given a piece of the True Cross to all churches, including the Ethiopian Church.
Irreecha ([[Afaan Oromo]: also called Irreessa, is Thanksgiving holiday of the Oromo People in Ethiopia. The Oromo Peoplecelebrate Irreecha to thank Waaqa (God) for the blessings and mercies they have received throughout the previous year. The thanksgiving is celebrated at the sacred grounds of Hora Harsadi (Lake Harsadi), Bishoftu, Oromia.