Practical information


Timkat celebration in Gondar, Ethiopia
A young woman at Timkat celebration in Gondar, Ethiopia

Most areas in Ethiopia lie far from the tropical zone that has usually a hot weather. Some parts in Ethiopia can get exceedingly humid and hot including some parts that are even located at about 1,000 to 1,500 meters above the sea level. Conversely, its capital Addis, has average temperature between 21 degrees Celsius and 25 degrees Celsius, which can still fall to a chilling temperature of 5 to 10 degrees Celsius during the night on the month of December. Due to hot and dry weather that is mostly experienced in Ethiopia, people there are likely to suffer severe starvation brought about by food scarcity since the fields are not getting enough rain or water to grow and become harvested.

Currency and Money

The local currency is the Ethiopian Birr, which is made up of 100 cents. Notes are issued in five denominations – 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 birr and there are five different coins of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents. One US Dollar is about 9 Ethiopian Birr. You can use the currency converter to your right to calculate exact conversions from any foreign currency to Birr.

Addis Ababa the Capital of Ethiopia
Addis Abeba is the Capital of Ethiopia and the population in 2021 is estimated to be around 4 billion people

The Ethiopian Calendar

A monk in a monastery on an island in lake Tana
A monk in a monastery on an island in lake Tana

The Ethiopian calendar is much more similar to the Egyptian Coptic calendar having a year of 13 months, 365 days and 366 days in a leap year (every fourth year). The Ethiopian calendar is much influenced by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, which follows its ancient calendar rules and beliefs. The Ethiopian calendar is always seven years and eight months behind the Gregorian (Western) and Eastern Orthodox Church calendars during September and December and eight years and four months behind during January and August. This is why the Ethiopians will celebrate the new millennium on September 1, 2000 Ethiopian calendar (September 12, 2007 Gregorian calendar). The Ethiopian Calendar includes twelve 30-day months and a 13th month of five days (six days in leap years).


The Ethiopian clock has 24 hours in a day, similar to its western counterpart. However, Ethiopia has shifted their clock by six hours so that the clock rolls over at 6 am – the start of the day. This means Western 6:00am is 12:00am Ethiopian time and 6pm Western time is 12 noon Ethiopian time. There is no adjustment of clocks for Winter or Summer Time, so there is daylight savings time. This is an entirely sensible approach given Ethiopia is located near the equator and the sun comes up at the same time every day of the year. In Addis Ababa, sunrise begins at around 06.30 and sunset is about 6:45.

Timkat celebration in Gondar, Ethiopia
People holding torches at Timkat celebration in Gondar, Ethiopia