Timket Festival 2016
Posted by addisethiopia on January 20, 2016
Where: Addis Ababa, Gondar, Lalibela Ethiopia
Timket is a religious festival celebrated with much zeal in Addis Ababa, Gondar, and Lalibela in Ethiopia. It is also spelled as Timkat or Timqat. The festival is the Ethiopian Orthodox celebration of Epiphany and venerates Christ’s baptism in the River Jordan. Although the festival is observed by orthodox Christians all over the world, in Ethiopia it takes on a special significance as it is the most colourful event of the year in the country. The most relevant symbol of the festival is colourful embroidered umbrellas that protect the sacred Tabot and the priests carrying the Tabot.
Timket Festival Celebrations
Timket festival is celebrated to commemorate the divine ritual of the baptism of Christ in the Jordan River. The celebrations start from the eve of the festival which is on 18th January at 2 pm local time with traditional horns that herald the celebrations with colourful processions and ceremonies. The main ceremony commences with the priest solemnly carrying the Tabot which is a model of the Ark of the Covenant, reverently wrapped in rich silk cloth to the nearby stream at around 2am on 19th January. The Tabot is a representation of Jesus as the Messiah when he came to the Jordan River for baptism. The Holy Ark is immersed in the water by one priest whilst the other chants some prayers. Once the Ark is baptised, the priest then blesses the water body and sprinkles some of the blessed water on the devotees. Thereafter the Holy Ark is carried back to its church amidst lots of chanting, music, and dancing.
Tips for Timket Festival
Travellers can enjoy the festivities of Timket Festival at Addis Ababa, Gondar, or Lalibela.
Although the festival is celebrated at Addis Ababa, Lalibela, and Gondar in Ethiopia and each one has its own charm, the festivities at Addis Ababa are tourist friendly as Addis Ababa offers variety of facilities to tourists.
Pilgrims need to be careful of touts and pickpockets and not carry any valuable items with them while attending the festivities.
If you are attending the festivities in Gondar do make sure to visit the Church of Debre Berhan Selassie renowned for its finest art in Ethiopia.
Downtown Gondar with its Italian-inspired architecture, shops, and eating joints, is another interesting place you can explore once the festivities are over.
If you happen to be in Addis Ababa then you can shop for traditional crafts or catch some art shows or visit various museums in the city.
Since it is cold in January it is advisable to bring some woollens along with you.
The Sacrament of Baptism in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
A baby boy is baptized 40 days after he is born. A baby girl is baptized 80 days after birth. If a baby is sick and may die baptism takes place immediately.
Babies are anointed with oil to “undo the works of devils and their magic,and so become an anointing for faith in Christ.”
Babies are baptized naked because, “undressing the child reminds us of the nakedness of Adam and Eve when they obeyed satan and disobeyed the commandment of God, so they were put to shame before Him and hid from Him when they realized their nakedness. Such is what sin and satan do to human beings, they strip them from all virtues and the protection of grace, and hence put them to shame before others.”