The calendar

The Ethiopian calendar follows the primitive Alexandrine Computus, though as many month names suggest, this probably came to Ethiopia in pre-Christian times. Today the year, which begins around 11 September, is normally calculated according to the Year of Mercy, or 'Amata Mahrat, calculation of which is seven and eight years behind the Common Era. Other systems are used, especially in ecclesiastical circles, including the Year of the Martyrs, starting from the persecutions of Diocletian in 284 ce. Each year is also consecutively assigned to one of the Evangelists. Most of the feasts of the Ethiopian Church are in accord with those of other Eastern churches, with the Feast of the Cross, Masqal, and Epiphany, Tamqat, being given particular prominence. Commemorative feast days for saints are also observed with special devotion, with all the saints having their annual feasts, and the more popular saints such as the Virgin Mary and the Archangels having in addition regular monthly feast days. For instance, there are ten principal and six secondary feasts of Our Lord each year, and four regular monthly feasts: Trinity on the seventh of each month, the Feast of the Cross on the tenth, the Passion on the twenty-seventh, and the Nativity on the twenty-ninth.

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