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Ethiopia Holidays

Ethiopia, One of the oldest Nations in the world, has never been colonized by any European power. This has been one of the reasons to the people of Ethiopia to keep their cultural identity and traditions for millenniums. As a result Ethiopia enjoys ancient, unique, but diverse arts and architectural heritages; among these religious festivals are always lively and colorful scenes in Ethiopian life. Ethiopia is a country with 13 month of sunshine. Therefore; a traveler/Travelers can plan any kind of trip to visit Ethiopia in all days of the year. Concerning festivals, there is no better time than January to visit Ethiopia and celebrate the Ethiopian Christmas on the 7th of January and that of the Ethiopian Epiphany on the 19th of January every year. The Meskal festival on September 27 is equally colorful and large bonfires are lit all over the country in each Ethiopian Orthodox Christian villages. Be it individual or in group, Safari Ethiopia Tours is getting used to tailor making such and similar major festivals for your vacation holidays to Ethiopia. The religious festivals of the Ethiopian Orthodox church are the most exciting events in the country. The origins of these ancient processions are dated back to Judaism and the dawn of Ethiopian Christendom. Christianity is said to have reached Ethiopia soon after the resurrection of Christ and it was only the second country to adopt it as a state religion in the 4th Century AD.

Ethiopian Holidays for 2006 Ethiopian Calendar: 2013/14 Gregorian calendar

(Muslim holidays are based on lunar calendars, and therefore vary from year to year.)

7th        January                          'Gena' - Ethiopian Christmas

10th       January                         Id Al Adha (Arafa)

19th       January                         'Timkat' - Ethiopian Epiphany

2nd        March                            Victory of Adwa Commemoration Day

10th       April                              'Mawlid' - Birth of the Prophet Mohammed

18th       April                              Ethiopian Good Friday

20th      April                              'Fasika' - Ethiopian Easter

1st        May                               International Labour Day

5th        May                               Ethiopian Patriots Victory Day

11th       September                    'Enkutatash' - Ethiopian New Year

27th      September                    'Meskel' - Finding of the True Cross

22nd      October                       'Id Al Fater' - End of Ramedan

The entire Christian celebrations take place everywhere in the country, in almost every village and town.

There are also some regionally famous processions but equally colorful to the above-mentioned pageants which are at National level. The most peculiar one are the following

26th       July, 2005                      Kulubi Gabriel on the way to  Harar, Oromiya region

1st        October                          Gishen Mariam celebrations near Meqidela Mountain

                                               in Amhara region, Wollo.

25th        November                    Debre Damo Monastery

                                                ( Abba Abune Aregawi monastery) Tigray region

30th        November                    Hidar Tsion in Axum, Mariam Tsion Church ,Tigra region

28th       December                     Kulubi Gabriel on the way to  Harar, Oromiya region

23rd       February                      Ura Kidanemihiret in Lake Tana Peninsula Amahara region


If visiting villages, markets, attending festivals and special events, sightseeing, or simply enjoying the beautiful natural scenery and Safaris are, what we are always seeking to offer. 

Tour code: SETS 040

Programs:  Excursion to the Simien Mountains and enjoy one of the unique Festivals of the world; Meskal/ The discovery of the Real Cross procession

Duration: 9 days /8nights

Transport: All by flight except Bahird dar to Gondar and the excursion to The Simien Mountains National Park


Meskal; the finding of the True Cross

Maskal ( meskal, meskel) is a day of flowers and the feast of Chris-cross that we celebrate it in late September every year. According to the Ethiopian church history, Queen Helena or Elleni knelt down and prayed in holy place in Jerusalem. This was to get the life giving cross of Jesus Christ. Hence, she was told in her dream to make a huge bon fire and stay where she had been told until signs appeared.

 In her dream, the smoke went up and bent down from the sky and touched the spot on the earth where the original cross had been found buried. She then ordered some people to make bon fire.  As the great black column of smoke poured out from the bonfire and touched the ground similar to her dream, she ordered the people to dig the area deeply until the finding of the true cross of Jesus Christ. The feast is celebrated in Ethiopia on September 17 Ethiopian calendar (September 27 Gregorian calendar), 6 months after the discovery of the True Cross. The celebration of Meskel signifies the presence of the True Cross at mountain of Gishen Mariam monastery and also symbolizes the events carried out by Empress Helena.


 Highlights of the Itinerary:

Day 1: Sep 26 morning - Arrive Addis Ababa. Eve of the finding of the true cross and in the afternoon is the main bonfire procession time.

Day 2: Sep 27 – Sightseeing in Addis and enjoy the Meskal day

Day 3: Sep 28 - Fly to Axum

Day 4:  Sep 29 - Fly to Lalibela

Day 5: Sep 30 – Sightseeing in Lalibela

Day 6: Oct 01 - Fly to Gondar and sightseeing in Gondar

Day 7: Oct 02 – Day trip to the Simien mountains National Park

Day 8: Oct 03 – Drive to Bahir Dar and sightseeing in Bahir dar

Day 9: Oct 04 – Flight to Addis Ababa and optional sightseeing in the rest of your time

Day 10: Oct 05 - Departure


Tour code: SETS 041 Programs:  Excursion to the Simien Mountains and enjoy one of the unique Festivals of the world; Genna  /Lidet-Ethiopian Christmas procession

Duration: 11 days /10 nights

Transport: On surface Except the flight from Lalibela to Addis the last

Lidet, Ledet, (Ethiopian Christmas)

Lidet (Ethiopian Christmas, Nativity, incarnation) falls on December 29 Ethiopian calendars (January 7 Gregorian calendar). Lidet (Ethiopian Christmas) is celebrated after 43 days fasting known as Tsome Gahad (Advent), with a spectacular procession, which begins at 6 AM and lasts until 9 AM. After the mass service, people go home to break the fast with the meat of chicken or lamb or beef accompanied with injera and the traditional drinks (i.e. tella or tej).


 Highlights of the Itinerary:

Day 01:  Dec 28; Arrive in Addis Ababa

Visit of the sights in Addis in the remaining time. Overnight stat at a hotel of your own choice.

Day 02: Dec 29: Drive Addis to Bahir Dar

Overnight stay at Tana Hotel in Bahir dar.

Day 03: Dec 30: Boat excursion on Lake Tana and half day trip to the Blue Nile Falls. Overnight stay at Tana hotel.

Day 04:  Dec 31: Drive Bahir Dar to Gondar

 Sightseeing of the medieval city Gondar in the remaining time. Overnight stay at Taye Belay Hotel in Gondar

Day 05: Jan 1: Drive Gondar to Simien Mountains National Park. Explore the Simien Mountains Panoramic view in the rest of your time. Overnight stay at Simien lodge in Sankaber.

Day 06: Jan 2: Drive Simien Mountains National Park to Axum . Full day drive enjoying the breath taking natural beauty over the Limalimo, Tekez valley and the Simien mountains. Overnight stay at Brana hotel in Aksum

Day 07: Jan 3፡Full day sightseeing of the ancient town፣ Aksum. Overnight stay at Brana hotel in Aksum.

Day 08:   Jan 4:  Drive Axum Adigrat.  Visit of the moon temple of Yeha and the Monastery of Debre Damo on the way. Overnight stay at Geza Gebre Selasie hotel in Adigrat.

Day 09: Jan 5: Adigrat to Mekelle via Senkata /Gheralta-Hauzien. Visit of the ancient rock hewn churches of Tigray on the way. Overnight stay at Aksum hotel in Mekelle.

Day 10: Jan 6: Drive Mekelle to Lalibela Eve of Christmas. Overnight stay at Mount view hotel in Lalibela.

Day 11: Jany 7: Enjoy Christmas day in Lalibela and sightseeing of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. Overnight stay at Mount view hotel in Lalibela

Day 12: Jan 8: Flight to Addis Ababa. Before your transfer out to your international flights, there will be a fare well dinner party in one of the famous traditional restaurants in Addis Ababa. 


Tour code: SETS 042

Programs:  Excursion to the Simien Mountains and enjoy one of the unique Festivals of the world; Timket/ Ethiopian Epiphany procession.

Duration: 9 days /8nights

Transport: All by flight except Bahird dar to Gondar and the excursion to the Simien Mountains National Park

Timket, Timkat (Ethiopian Epiphany)

Timket (Ethiopian Epiphany) is one of the greatest festivals in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church calendar. It commemorates Christ's Baptism by Saint John in the Jordan River. Timket is celebrated in Ethiopia on January 11 Ethiopian calendar (January 19 Gregorian calendar), two weeks after Ledet (Ethiopian Christmas), beginning on the Eve of Timket with colorful processions and ceremonies ending on the January 12 (January 20 Gregorian calendar). In Timket, Tella and Tej are brewed, special bread is baked called "Ambasha" (in Amharic), and sheep are slaughtered to mark the three-day celebration. 

Highlights of the Itinerary:

Day 1: Jan 16 - Arrive Addis

Day 2: Jan 17 - Fly to Bihr dar and sightseeing in Bahir dar

Day 3: Jan 18 - Drive Bahir Dar to Gondar Eve of the Ethiopian Epiphany celebration

Day 4: Jan 19 - Full day in Gondar Epiphany festivity

Day 5: Jan 20 - Day trip to the Simien Mountains National Park

Day 6: Jan 21 - Fly to Lalibela

Day 7: Jan 22 - Full day in and around Lalibel for sightseeing 

Day 8: Jan 23 –Flight to Aksum  and visit the sights in Aksum

Day 9 Jan 24 – flight to Addis and visit the sights in Addis

Day 10 – Departure

 This is going to be a trip that will take you thousands of years back in time. 

Notes: As Ethiopia is a country of enormous cultural and natural beauty, the abovementioned trip highlights could be combined, extended /condensed, or rearranged differently with other nature and cultural sightseeing depending on your interest and budget.

For further discussion and detailed itineraries, please don’t hesitate to contact us…..

Safari Ethiopia Tours caters to travelers in all budget categories from budget to luxury. Regardless of your budget we deliver high quality personal service to our customers at reasonable price.

Please note that during the busy Ethiopian Christmas and Timket festivals

Seasons hotels and domestic flights can get full quite rapidly. In this seasons

we recommend you book your  trip  months before your departure.



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