May brings three holidays, two of which recognise major political events in recent Ethiopian history. The first holiday is May Day, International Labour day, celebrated in many countries around the world.


The second is Patriots Day on 5th May, which remembers the Ethiopian Patriots who fought to free Ethiopia from the Italian occupation and stop Ethiopia becoming an Italian Colony. Specifically it commemorates Emperor Haile Selassie’s triumphal re-entry into Addis Ababa, 78 years ago on 5th May 1941. This year it falls on a Sunday, so come and see the Arbegnoch heros (78 years after the event very few survivors of that time are still alive) lay wreaths at Arat Kilo in the morning and then come on to Jan Meda to see polo and horse racing.


Later on the 28th May, Genbot 20 in the Ethiopian calendar, the country commemorates the Fall of the Dergue, when in 1991 the EPRDF forces marched triumphantly into Addis Ababa marking the collapse of Mengistu’s regime.


It’s also the month this year that follows Easter and therefore for Orthodox Christians it is a period of enjoyment. In the Agame mountains in Tigray, each farmer holds a party to celebrate and thank the priests for fasting so intensely prior to Easter. In the fields of Meket, (Wollo bear Lalibela) boys hold spear throwing contests and girls make swings on trees.


It’s a particularly lovely time to come and visit these communities and trek through the countryside. So why not take advantage of the Genbot 20 holiday (on a Tuesday) and make a long weekend to get out of Addis Ababa. Enjoy a break from the city madness, the rain, (it rains far less in the north than it does in Addis) and come Experience the Real Ethiopia!


Mark Chapman

Tesfa Tours