Easter Festival + Historical Route Tour (Surface + Flight) - 13 days and 12 nights
Highlights of the Tour: Easter marks a very important interest and enthusiasm among the Christian community in Ethiopia being the last major religious festival. Believers of the Ethiopian Orthodox church await its arrival with great eager passing through a long lent period of 55 days where no animal product of meat, milk or egg shall not be consumed during this period.
Fasting runs from morning till 3Pm in the afternoon. Many spend most of their time at church doing prayers and performing other religious commitments.
In the remote parts of the country even couples won’t sleep together during the long lent season purifying their flesh to this fasting period where they focus and concentrate on religious matters more.
One week before Easter is called “HeMamat” a time to remember the suffering, beatings, wounds and pains of Jesus. In this week, people would not laugh, kiss, joke or make any fun but try to be on strict remembrance of those troubles of the Lord.
Two days before Easter is called day of crucify and this normally falls on Friday. On this day people spend the whole time bowing down before God as much as they can bow down depending on their strength, age and health issue to clean themselves from any sin. Some do 1000 times some even more.
On the eve of Easter almost all believers shall spend the night in the church doing their last religious sacrifices. Ceremonies in the church are so colorful and bygone that one would feel to be in time past at a Jew synagogue. Priest & deacons according to their ranks with their colorful Levite looking costume will be chanting and praying all the night long. All the instruments used are very traditional ones such as the leather made drums and also the cross-shaped prayer sticks of priests.
At 3AM early in the morning the whole mass will make a big announcement declaring the resurrection of Jesus and depart to their respective homes. At home people would dine the traditional hot spicy chicken by the name “Doro Wet”. Even those sleeping at home would wake up to join those from the church service to dine together.
Among the religious festivals this one is known to be important for visiting friends, relatives and families with different gifts. In general people buy goats and sheep as present to give to their relations but in the rural part of the country people go to visit their relatives with home baked bread called “Difo” and also homemade liquor called “Areke”. In cities like Addis people go to visit other people with pastry, cards and the like.
A week after Easter is also a colorful festival called “Dagme Tinsae”, which marks the ascension of Jesus to heaven. This is also equally celebrated with the main Easter festival.
Eater is very much attractive to be attended in the historical church of the country but more usually spend in the rock-churches of Lalibela or the ancient & first church of St. Mary of Zion church in Axum.
DAY 1 : Arrival Addis Ababa, Drive to Ataye
Drive to Ataye after a late morning breakfast. Along the road visit the shoan plateau and the farmlands with chance of mingling with the local farmers. Also visit the mouth of the rift valley system in Debre Sina and the Italian made tunnel.
DAY 2 : Drive to Senbete and then to Kombolcha
Senbete is one of the colorful weekly market along the northern historical circuit falling on Monday. There is a chance to see the local Amhara, Oromo and Argoba people with variety of grains and cattle to be exchanged in the market. Spend more time in the market and drive to Kombolcha.
DAY 3 : Drive from Kombolocha to Lalibela
After an early breakfast drive to Bati which is the second largest open air market in Ethiopia next to Merkato. The market falls weekly on Monday attracting the surrounding Amhara and Oromo people together with the lowland Afar people who mainly trade cattle and camels. After the visit in the market drive to Lalibela.
Day 4: Lalibela
Full day sightseeing of the rock-hewn churches. O/n Lal Lodge
Day 5: Drive from Lalibela to Gonder
Drive to Gondar via Debre Tabor road. Overnight Land Mark Hotel
DAY 6 : Drive from Gondar to Sankaber
Sightseeing of the castle compound and the colorful churches and drive to Debark. Proceed to Sankaber where the headquarter of the park is located and admire the colony of the endemic Gelada baboons. Overnight Simien Lodge.
DAY 7 : Drive from Gondar to Sankaber
Drive to Chenek, another head quarter to admire the other endemic Walia Ibex and also admire the great scenery. Overnight Simien Lodge
DAY 8 : Drive from Sankaber to Axum
Drive to Axum via the Chain Mountains. Attend the eve colourful celebration of Easter in the Axum's St. Mary of Zion church where the original ark of the covenant is believed to be kept. Overnight Consular Hotel
DAY 9 : Axum
Full day sightseeing of the archaeological sites, the ruined palace of Sheba and stone inscriptions in the ancient city of Axum. Overnight Consular Hotel
DAY 10 : Drive from Axum to Debark
Drive back to Debark. Along the road admire the scenic beauty of chain mountains, the Tekeze gorge and the small villages. O/n Sona Hotel
DAY 11 : Drive from Debark to Bahir Dar
After breakfast drive to Kossoye, the breath taking site where Queen Elizabeth of England overnighted with Emperor Haileselasse on their way to Axum for the inauguration of the St. Mary church. And then drive back to Bahir Dar. Overnight Summer land Hotel.
DAY 12 : Bahir Dar
Full day sightseeing of island monasteries and blue-nile falls. O/n Summer land Hotel
DAY 13 : Fly from Bahir Dar to Addis Ababa
Take the day time flight to Addis. Have a traditional dinner and transfer to the airport, Departure 00:35h
Off-Road Ethiopia Tour wishes you a pleasant stay!
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