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Festival of Timkat

On 19th January is the Festival of Timkat, the biggest celebration of the year for Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia. It is a jubilant occasion to mark the baptism of Jesus Christ by St John in the Jordan River.

This festival actually begins the day before, when sacred replicas of the Ark of the Covenant, wrapped in precious cloth, are placed carefully on a priest's head and then carried out in a procession with the clergy. On the day of the festival, those celebrating enter the closest stretches of water to re-enact Jesus Christ’s baptism. Following this, the water is then blessed and then sprinkled on people.

For the most colourful and vibrant celebrations of the Festival of Timkat, head to the city of Gonder. Addis Ababa also holds some memorable festivities on this special holiday, with easy access for visitors.

So for a unique and special way to celebrate Epiphany, head to Ethiopia this year!


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