The History of Timekeeping in Ethiopia

Ethiopia has a rich and fascinating history when it comes to timekeeping. From ancient sundials to modern digital watches, timekeeping in Ethiopia has evolved over thousands of years.

One of the earliest timekeeping devices in Ethiopia was the sundial, which used the position of the sun to measure time. Sundials were used by ancient Ethiopians to determine the time of day for important activities such as worship and farming. These early sundials were often made from stone and were commonly found at religious sites.

The introduction of Christianity to Ethiopia in the 4th century brought with it a new way of measuring time. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church adopted the Coptic calendar, which has its roots in ancient Egypt. This calendar is based on the solar year and is still used by the church today to determine the dates of religious holidays.

In the 16th century, Ethiopian emperor Sarsa Dengel introduced a new timekeeping system known as the “wukro.” The wukro divided the day into 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness, and was used for official purposes such as the scheduling of government meetings and court hearings.

During the 20th century, modern timekeeping devices such as wristwatches and clocks became increasingly popular in Ethiopia. Today, many Ethiopians use both traditional and modern timekeeping methods, such as using their cell phones or checking the time on digital clocks.

In addition to traditional timekeeping devices, Ethiopia is also known for its unique method of keeping track of hours. Instead of starting the day at midnight like in many other cultures, Ethiopians start the day at sunrise. This means that the Ethiopian day is divided into 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness, with the hours starting at 6am and ending at 6pm.

In conclusion, the history of timekeeping in Ethiopia is a fascinating subject that spans thousands of years. From ancient sundials to modern digital watches, the evolution of timekeeping in Ethiopia reflects the country’s rich cultural heritage and its ongoing relationship with time.