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Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, which comprises twelve months of thirty days each and a thirteenth month of five days (or six days in a leap year). The calendar is seven years and eight months behind the Western (Gregorian) calendar.

Clocks and Time
The Ethiopian clock is similar to many equatorial countries and there is a six-hour difference between Ethiopian and Western time. This means Western 6:00 am is 12:00am Ethiopian time and 6pm Western time is 12 noon Ethiopian time. Ethiopia is also three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

However, there is no adjustment of clocks for winter or Summer Time, so there is no putting clocks backward or forwards an hour. Being close to the Equator there is almost twelve hours of constant daylight. In Addis Ababa, sunrise begins at around 06.30 and sunset is about 18:45.

Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia, although English, Italian, French and Arabic are fairly spoken. Ethiopians are proud of their rich tongue and frequently make the point that its vocabulary is as extensive as that of English, if not more so and that English should be used for foreign correspondence. But English is still widely spoken and remains a principal medium of instruction in secondary schools.

In addition to Amharic, with the unique and elegant alphabet, there are around 80 local languages and about 200 dialects in the country.

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