Timkat, or Epiphany is a holiday celebrated by the Ethiopian Orthodox church. It is a symbolic commemoration of the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan by John the Baptist. For Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, it serves as a renewal of their baptismal vows.
The celebration usually lasts 2 days with people filling the streets praying and celebrating. Tradition is that the church tabot (replica of the Ark of the Covenant) is taken from churches to a nearby locations, usually near a body of water. This is representative of Jesus coming to the River Jordan. The tabot spends the night in this location while the priests and thousands of other celebrators hold a vigil through the night praying and chanting. In the morning the water is blessed and is then sprinkled on the gatherers (or they may chose to bathe in the water), renewing their baptismal vows. Long parades then carry the tabot back home to the church with celebratory singing and dancing.
It’s said to be one of the most colorful and spectacular holidays celebrated in a country that sure knows how to celebrate a holiday!!
It’s on our bucket list of things to see/do in Ethiopia some day!!
Featured image photo credit: http://www.ethiosports.com/