Ethiopia Events, Things to Do and Festivals 2014 / 2015

(Ethiopia, ET, East Africa)

Photo of old African monastery buildingEthiopia's diverse cultural make-up means that there are plenty of opportunities to experience festivals and fairs, as well as cultural and sporting events. In particular, there are several major religious festivals held all over Ethiopia, throughout the year.

Many of the biggest events and most popular things to do take place in Addis Ababa, such as the Ethiopian Film Festival each May, while the southerly city of Arba Minch is known for its music and dance celebrations at the end of the year. Each November, the Great Ethiopian Run is also worth looking out for, being followed soon after by Kullubi (Feast of St. Gabriel).

Ethiopia Calendar of Festivals and Events 2014 / 2015

Image showing local gathering


  • Genna - Ethiopia's Christmas festivities falls on 7th January and is mainly celebrated with night-long church services
  • Timkat-Feast - a three-day festival to celebrate Christ's baptism in the River Jordan by John the Baptist. Decorated 'tabots', representing the Ark of the Covenant, are processed from churches. In Addis Ababa, the procession comes to rest at Jan Meda in the city


  • Kedane Meheret - a special day of prayer to celebrate the moment when Mary took her vows. Traditionally, Ethiopian people bake bread to share with the poor


  • All Ethiopian Games - held every four years, this sporting event lasts for over a week. Athletes from all over the country participate, making this one of the best events to witness the country's diverse culture and traditions
  • Addis International Film Festival - includes international and local feature films, shorts and documentaries


  • Tensae Cycle Race - an annual Easter cycle race. Racers compete over 22 laps of the stadium in Addis Ababa


  • Ethiopian Film Festival - outdoor film screenings held in Addis Ababa
  • Ethiopian Music Festival - organised by Alliance Ethio-française, this series of music concerts features a wide range of music and dance styles


  • Indian Documentary Film Festival - a week-long event in which several Indian documentaries are screened in central Addis Ababa


  • Summer Cycling Championship - held around Addis Ababa from July through to September


  • Buhe - On 21st August, children go house to house asking for fresh 'buhe' or dough to bake
  • Ramadan - most of Ethiopia's Muslim population live in and around the town of Harar in the east of the country, so this is where this festival is most closely observed. The festival begins in mid-August and ends in mid-September


  • Enkutatash - the Julian calendar is still used in Ethiopia, hence, New Year is celebrated on 11th September. The festival coincides with the end of the rainy season in spring. Gifts of flowers are usually exchanged, as well as cards and gifts
  • Meskal - celebrated on 27th September. Flower-filled processions and burning torches make up this festival to commemorate the finding of the True Cross by the Patriarch of Alexandria. Part of the cross is said to be preserved at the Ethiopian monastery of Gishen Marien
  • Irecha - held around the pilgrimage site of Lake Hora. Each year, the Oromo tribe visit Lake Hora to carry out religious ceremonies


  • Festival of St. Aregawi - held biannually, many people make a pilgrimage to the Debra Damo Monastery


  • The Great Ethiopian Run - thousands take part in this highly inclusive race over 10 km / 6.25 miles. The brainchild of famous Ethiopian athlete Haile Gebrselassie, this run affords a great opportunity to run with some of the greatest athletes of today


  • Kullubi - the Feast of St. Gabriel is celebrated with a procession that departs from St. Gabriel's Church in Addis Ababa
  • Arba Minch Festival of Music and Dance - held in southern Ethiopia, this colourful event is a showcase of traditional African music and local culture