The Word of God in the Rainy Season of Ethiopia

July 8, 2015

By Kassa Nigus 

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church uses all seasons of the year and their peculiar features to illustrate its teachings in analogical and simple way. It seizes every moment and relates it to the lives of people so as to help them learn from the seasons and prepare themselves to be worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church likens the summer season to the life of Christianity. Just as the farmer endures the hardships of the rainy season (cold weather, mud, etc), the church also advises its children to be devout Christians even in the face of tribulations. It encourages them to remain steadfast saying “We shall be ready to accept the calamity upon us for the sake of the Kingdom of God; you shall be alert for prayer, fasting and repentance for the body shall be governed for the need of the soul”. 


Biblical words related to rain and sowing are frequently read in the rainy/summer season that we are in. The church cites the following biblical words to highlight its message:   

 “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goes forth and weeps, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalms 126:5-6) 

“Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts he any man.” (James 1:12-13). 
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church categorizes the year into four seasons of three months. These are: 

1. Matsaw (Autumn): the windy season from 26 Meskerem to 25 Tahisas  (6 October up to  January 3)

2. Hagay  ( Winter): the dry season from  26 Tahisas  to  25 Megabit (January 4, up to April 3)

3. Balg (Spring): the sowing season (that of the light rains) from 26 Megabit  to 25 Sene; and (April 4 up to July 2) 

4. Kiremt (summer): the rainy season from 26 Sene to 25 Meskerem E.C.  (July 3, up to October 5 G.C.) 

These four divisions are named after their peculiar features mentioned in the Psalms. Each of them is also divided into further sub-divisions. There are many types of divisions of the rainy season but now let us exploit the common and frequently used categories of the church.

  The first sub division of the rainy season is treated as follows:

A. ‘Seed’, ‘Cloud’ and ‘kiremt (rainy season)’:  it  extends from 25 Sene – 19 Hamle (July2 up to July 26 ) 
This period is manly named based on its main features. During this season, the church recites biblical readings pertaining to seed and sowing. It draws many verses from the bible to teach her children. Some of the relevant verses of the time are:

“And He spoke many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” (Mathew 13:3-8); 

 “For the earth which drinks in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and brings forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receives blessing from God: But that which bears thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.”   (Hebrew 6:7-8) 

The church draws analogies between the lives of Christians and farmland, and urges its children to bear fruit like the seed sown on good ground based on the cited verses. The church regularly advices its children to be a good ground to hear Christ’s message. The good ground received the seed, the word, it took root and grew, meaning it was believed and it produced the fruit of righteousness and obedience.

Note: The Date is in Ethiopian calendar. 


• ‘Hamer’ magazine (5th year, No. 2), 1989. PP. 6-7   

• Fr. Emmanuel Fritsch, cssp  2001: The liturgical year of the Ethiopian church, pp.304-305