Ethiopia, unlike the other world, celebrates its new year on 11 September. Similarly, unlike the other world’s calendar, Ethiopia has its unique calendar, with an additional month in its calendar, Pagume, the 13th month.
Pagume is a month with only five days, become six days in four years period, which always is a transition month from the old year to New Year in Ethiopia’s calendar. Pagume month is a month between the end of August and the beginning of September month.
According to the Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian New Year is always celebrating during 01 Meskerem, which is September 11 in the Gregorian calendar. Ethiopia’s calendar is also seven years back from the Gregorian calendar.
Ethiopia is accepting its 2014 New Year today, 01 Meskerem, 11 September 2021. The Ethiopian New Year always is celebrating after the short month, the Pagume month. Pagume is not a unique month only interims of shortest month, but also it has its distinct features, unlike the other months.
Though Pagume in the Ethiopian calendar is considered as the 13th month, there is no salary payment for civil servants and other monthly paid services. In addition, during the 13th month, there is no payment for rented houses and other monthly agreed payments in Ethiopia.
During this month, all civil servants across the country as usual present in their offices and provide their day-to-day services, though there is no payment for the days they work. But, it is a common norm and every civil servant is happy to provide the five day free services during this month.
As I mentioned above, for this month, house rent for both commercial and resident purposes across the country. It is abnormal to ask for rent payment during this month, though every service is provided. These are formal and normal free and voluntary services every year a citizen in Ethiopia is providing for their citizens and their country.
Similarly, on the eve of the New Year, youths are engaged in mobilizing different resources for the needy to provide holiday gifts to support them to celebrate the New Year without any shortage of food or beverages.
Ethiopians are busy during the Pagume days since these days are preparation days to accept the New Year. To fulfil the necessary needs to celebrate the New Year holiday, every one according to his/her capacity is preparing for the day. The Pagume days are the preparation day for the holiday.
Parallel to the preparations to accept the New Year, during the Pagume month, voluntary services and generous activities increases.
Due to these and other reasons, Pagume month is considered as free service, voluntarism, generosity, kindness and contribution month. These voluntary services, nowadays, are also increasing from year to year.
Starting from recent years, Pagume month’s days are celebrating every year by giving names for each day to promote different national and voluntary service activities by mobilizing the people.
This year’s Pagume days were also celebrated with different names and slogans especially in the capital, Addis Ababa. The five days were named Ethiopia Day, Free service Day, Generosity and Voluntarism Day, Heroism Day and Promise Day respectively celebrated from Monday 06 September to Friday 10 September 2021.
During the first day of Pagume, Ethiopia Day was celebrated with different activities that promote Ethiopia’s values. During early in the morning, a lot of Ethiopians were gathered in Mesqel Square and chanted the national anthem and raising the national flag.
The second Pagume Day was named as free service provision day to acknowledge and thank the free services provided during the Pagume month. In addition, the day promotes developing carrying and respecting customers during the service provision.
Meanwhile, the third day of Pagume was named as generosity day to promote kindness, generosity and acknowledging gifts to the needy and voluntary services. During this day, all Addis Ababa City public buses were providing a full day free transportation service to settlers of the city. Similarly, taxes and other transportation
services were joined the public buses in providing free services during the day. During the generosity day, the Addis Ababa City administration provides over 1,800 houses renewed during the direct voluntary services to the elderly.
The fourth day of Pagume, heroism day was celebrated on Thursday to recognize and respect Ethiopian heroes in all fields. Especially, the day was celebrated to give respect and love to the Ethiopian National Defense Force. While the fifth day of Pagume, the eve of Ethiopian News Year, was named promise day.
The Pagume month tradition of providing free services and voluntary activities is no days capitalized to a higher level by recognizing the traditional activities. By capitalizing on the traditional norm of providing free services during the Pagume days, the government is providing additional and formal voluntary and nation bulling activities during this unique month.
The new campaigns are promoting citizens to accept the New Year with new spirit, love, passion and patriotism. The atmosphere and mood during these days is something new and special, hence, investing in national and other public issues during these days helps to put unforgettable memory on the mind of citizens.
Editor’s Note: The views entertained in this article do not necessarily reflect the stance of The Ethiopian Herald
BY DARGIE KAHSAY
The Ethiopian Herald 12 September 2021