Happy new year!
As most of the people of the world mark 9/11 with commemorations of the attacks on the world trade centre and the Pentagon there are different celebrations under way in the Coptic Christian world.
Egypt and Ethiopia have a unique calendar system which is a hangover from ancient Egyptian religions. While most of Western Europe found that a four season calendar made sense of the agricultural year a different dynamic held sway along the Nile.
Calendars prosper by their usefulness. The three season ancient Egyptian calendar was very useful to the farmers of the Nile valley. The key driver of the agricultural season from Ethiopia to Alexandria was the highland rains which caused the Nile inundation.
The Julian calendar was introduced as the Roman standard by Emperor Augustus in 25 BC. A modified version of the Julian Calendar was introduced in Egypt. The first day of the New Year in the Ancient Egyptian calendar, the Feast of the Two Rivers, lands in our calendar on the 11th of September.
In 284 AD Diocletian became Emperor of Rome. He immediately launched the most savage pogrom against Christians in History. He tried very hard to wipe out the Christian religion. His pogrom was especially harsh in Alexandria and the Egyptian World. The Coptic Christian calendar takes 284 AD as its Year 1, Year of the Martyrs. The Ethiopian church has followed the Coptic lead and also celebrates today as New Year.