Celebrating Timket

Ethiopia’s most colorful holiday of the year.
Ethiopians truly master the art of celebration. In January, locals and visitors from all over the world join together to experience a one-of-a-kind adventure – a joyous celebration known as Timket. During Timket, Ethiopians are outdoors in their masses, dressed in their best white traditional clothing, to celebrate and worship.

Exclusive to Ethiopia, the colorful annual street festival is a three-day event which starts on January 19 and is celebrated until January 21. The celebration is to commemorate Christ’s baptism. It dates back to the 16th century and involves laying long red carpets on streets over which are borne the Tabots brought out of the churches, worshipping, feasting and procession.

The celebration of Timket starts on the eve of the main festival. The eve is known as Ketera, taken from the Amharic word ketere meaning, to make a dam. It is usual during this time to make a dam in places where there is not sufficient river water for the celebration of Timket. Both the Ketera and Timket ceremonies particularly, are so colorful that they have attracted the attention of visitors from around the world.

On January 19, people turn out in their masses and flock to Jan Meda to attend the rite of sprinkling water on foreheads, symbolizing Christ’s baptism.
The best events are in Gondar and Addis Ababa. In Addis Ababa many tents are perched in the grassy field at Jan Meda to the northeast of the city center, the principle location of the festival. Accompanying the Tabots from the churches across the city, the faithful masses pour into Jan Meda.

Throughout the three day festival, unlike most other celebrations in the country, the streets are packed with thousands of pilgrims who come to re-enact the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, and to take a dip in the waters which are considered holy. The festivity has also been associated with an opportunity for pilgrims to meet their future significant other. People attend the carnival looking their best to meet future possible spouses. In ancient times, the day used to represent the most auspicious day where young men would seek out women to marry, in the large crowds.

The event is a sophisticated and spectacular traditional festival that is about worship, unity, and romance. If you are a lover of street festivals and heritage, Timket is not to be missed. It’s a celebration that reveals the ancient culture and tradition of Ethiopia that continues to be passed on from generation to generation.

Source 1- http://www.ethiosports.com/2017/01/18/timket-ethiopias-
extraordinary-festivity-and-culture/ (Ethiosports)
Source 2-http://www.dynastyethiopiatours.com/what-s-new/88-cum-
sociis-natoque-penatibus-et-magnis (Dynasty Ethiopia Tour)

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