Zen Zion Coptic

Orthodox Church

Ethiopian Coptic Calendar

Note: on Groundhog day, 2005 (Gregorian) the ZZCO changed our numbering convention from the Egyptian calendar to the Ethiopian calendar, in order to be more in sync with other Rastafarians thoughout the world. The layout of the months is the same, but the number of the year is now just seven years off of the Gregorian calendar. The month names were changed to the Ethiopian equivalents.

All historians have agreed that the Egyptians were the first to calculate time. They divided the year into 12 months, according in their knowledge of the stars. They later discovered the solar year, and became dependent upon it. Each of the 12 months was 30 days long and they added five more days, which they called the small month. Therefore, their year became 365 days long. The final stage of rectifying the calendar, in 238 BC was to add a sixth day to the small month every four years. The beginning of their year was on the first day of the month of Meskerem (Thout), which is the first month of the Coptic year.

The year 284 was the year Diocletian became emperor, and he ordered the longest and fiercest persecution the Christians ever experienced. He remained in office until 305. Over eight hundred thousand Copts lost their lives under Diocletian.

To keep alive the memory of the martyrs who laid down their lives for their faith, the Coptic calendar commenced with the year 284 A.D as its starting point.
(note: at this point there was only one catholic church, this is pre-schismatic)

The Ethiopian calendar, on the other hand, used the actual year of Jesus' birth (since they knew it) as its starting point.

The Copts follow the same calendar system of the ancient Egyptians. The Coptic year begins on September 11th and has twelve months of thirty days each, and a short month of five days (or six days on leap years.)

The Egyptians named their months after their gods, and chose their names according to the season of the climatic changes for agriculture.

We are not quite certain at this point what the Ethiopian names mean. Egyptian names are listed in parentheses.

They divided the year into 3 main seasons:

The Coptic months are, in order:

The Season of the Flood of the Nile

Meskerem (Thout)

Tekemt (Paapi)

Hedar (Hathor)

Tahesas (Kiahk)


The Season of Vegetation

Tir (Tobi)

Yekatit (Mechir)

Megabit (Paremhat)

Meyazeya (Paremoude)


The Season of Reaping and Harvesting

Ginbot (Pachons)

Senay (Paoni)

Hamlay (Epip)

Nehasay (Mesori)

Paguemain (Nasie—Little Month)


NOTE : The above Gregorian Calendar equivalents may change slightly in a leap year.

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