The most colorful festival of Ethiopia in an open-air where one can see the jubilations, festivity, dancing and chanting on the air is Timket or Epiphany. The literal meaning of “Timket” is baptism. The festival is celebrated for the remembrance of the day where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in river Jordan.
On this day the ark of covenant will be taken out from the holy of holies to an open-air field but with a very slow and stagnant movement of people who carry the Ark being followed by deacons & priests that wear colorful costumes singing, dancing and chanting around. Then the mass surrounding them voicing up the religious chanting and song. Then the other great mass singing and dancing their own cultural and traditional music.
There is a trend of wearing the best cloth and shoe one has on this day. Also the girls put some decorations to bring out the beauties they have as this is a day to look for the life mate specially in the rural parts of the country and also in some big cities too.
The ark will rest at the selected field with in a tent and the whole night is dedicated for prayer and sanctification as for the religious clergies and for dating and chasing around girls as for the greater part of the young men.
The early morning of the next day is an important religious moment where people gather at the hall that is filled with a holy water for a chance of getting sprinkled on. Some even take the mud and put on the part of their body where they feel sick or even take it home to their relatives who are not able to make it to the sprinkling.
Those arks which were moved from the churches of St. Micheal would stay more night in the tent and start heading back with the same festivity, chanting and dancing the following day while others get back to their original churches after an overnight in the late afternoon of the next day.
Most of the local people coming to attend the event would wear cotton made white clothing which is a very traditional way of wearing while attending church services in Ethiopia and a sight f it from distance or above would make one to imagine a white carpet is plastid on earth.
Timket is colorfully celebrated in the touristic & historic sites of Lalibela and Gondar but can be attended in any part of the country including Addis Ababa, where a very big number of people are witnessed attending it. The eve of Timket is heart alluring to be attended at the top of the rock-churches looking down priest and deacons in their colorful costumes doing their rituals while leaving the rock-churches to the field where the ark overnight. It is also wonderful to see it in Gondar at the bathing pool of King Fasilades, where believers jumps in to it with believers of being clean from their sins and wrong doings.
For the year 2017, it will fall on January 20th.
Put a pin in your calendar to be at the next season of Timket in one of these colorful cities!
Interested in celebrating Timket with us ? Please check available tour packages