Timkat Festival in Ethiopia Holiday

Timkat festival is one of the world's most stunning religious festivals, despite the fact that few people have heard of it. It is also unique to Ethiopia, where the orthodox Christian feast of Epiphany is observed on the 19th of January or the 20th in leap years.

Timkat, which translates as "baptism," commemorates Jesus' baptism in the River Jordan by John the Baptist. Ethiopians celebrate this every year with a mass immersion at various waterfronts or sacred pools around the nation, with the primary locations being Lalibela, Gondar, and Addis Ababa.

1. When is the Timkat Festival?

Timkat festival is on the 19th of January (20th in leap years), and preparations, known as Ketera, begin that day. The entire festival lasts three days. It is observed on this date because it corresponds to the 11th day of Terr.

Timkat is on Wednesday, January 19th, 2022. Tourists should be informed that Timkat is a Ethiopia public holiday, which means most establishments are closed.

With warm, sunny weather and little rainfall, January is one of the finest months to visit Ethiopia. Leddet, or Ethiopian Christmas, is also celebrated this month, on January 7th.

Timkat festival in Ethiopia

Timkat festival in Ethiopia

2. How is Timkat Celebrated?

Timkat is a three-day festival that honors Christ's baptism. The most important day is January 19th, when the blessing of water and reaffirmation of baptism vows will take place.

Because Christianity is the most popular religion in Ethiopia, and 43% of the population is Orthodox Christian, many Ethiopians celebrate Timkat.

Ketera: preparations the day before Timkat

Timkat preparations begin on the 18th of January (the 19th in a leap year). Tabots, or representations of the Ark of the Covenant, are stolen from churches and wrapped in fabric and silk on this day. Each church's most senior priest leads the procession to the river or bath, bearing the tabots on their heads.

The tabot represents the tablets on which God wrote the ten commandments and delivered them to Moses on Mount Sinai. During the night, the priests and other participants stand watch over the tabots.

The main celebrations take place on the second day of Timkat

On January 19th, mass begins early in the morning and lasts until approximately 7 a.m. Locals dress in white and cover their heads with scarves.

Following service, major church dignitaries deliver addresses, and the water is blessed. Participants then immerse themselves in the water, repeating their baptismal vows. This important aspect of the celebration is a recreation of Jesus' baptism in the River Jordan.

What food is eaten during Timkat?

Pilgrims enjoy a special Timkat feast with their families following the reenactment of Jesus' baptism.

Timkat's signature dish is Injera, an Ethiopian flatbread stuffed with various slices of meat and veggies and eaten with their hands. Many Ethiopian yearly events, like Meskel, which takes place in September, feature injera. Doro Wat, an Ethiopian spicy chicken dish, is a national favorite and is often served at Timkat.

Coffee is the preferred beverage, which is frequently freshly roasted and prepared.

Doro Wat is often served at Timkat.

Doro Wat is often served at Timkat.

On the final day of the Timkat festival

Timkat's third and final day is scheduled for January 20th (or 21st). In a similar procession, the tabots that had been brought to the river are returned to the churches.

The yearly Timkat celebrations come to an end with this.

3. Where to Celebrate Timkat in Ethiopia

Tourists can attend the Timkat festival from anywhere in Ethiopia. Those who wish to attend the biggest and most important events, on the other hand, should go to:

Celebrating Timkat in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital

Timkat celebrations take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital. The capital has numerous intriguing things to see and do, such as museums, marketplaces, and cathedrals. The Medhane Alem Cathedral is Addis Ababa's largest church.

The majority of international visitors come via Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, which is about 6 kilometers (4 miles) from the city center.

Some of the biggest Timkat festivities take place in Gondar

Gondar is an old Ethiopian city in the country's north. Gondar was especially significant during Emperor Fasilides' reign in the 17th century, when palaces, fortresses, and a royal spa were erected. This royal bath is refilled once a year at Timkat.

Visitors may fly from Addis Ababa to Gondar Airport, commonly known as Atse Tewodros Airport. The trip takes one hour.

Lalibela, one of the holiest cities in Ethiopia

Lalibela's rock-hewn churches are well-known. Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's most holy cities and a popular pilgrimage destination. It is also located in Northern Ethiopia; a one-hour trip from Addis Ababa to Lalibela Airport is available. Pilgrims from all over the world travel to Lalibela to participate in the Tamika processions.

Lalibela is a holy city where Timkat is celebrated

Lalibela is a holy city where Timkat is celebrated

4. Advice for Tourists Traveling to Ethiopia for Timkat

Tourists are invited to attend Timkat festivities, but they must respect the customs and traditions. It is best to arrange accommodations ahead of time because the annual festival attracts a large number of pilgrims. The sites mentioned above are top-rated.

Visitors to Ethiopia should carry adequate summer attire; typical high temperatures in January are approximately 72 °F (23 °C). In cool weather, light clothes are advised, as well as some warmer things for the nighttime when temps dip to 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius).

Travelers should apply for an Ethiopia visa at least three days before travel. People planning to attend the Timkat Festival should submit their visa applications by January.

As a result, the Ethiopia Timkat Festival, or even a blend of traditional, modern, well-off, and farming culture, has resulted in a new type of traditional attire that incorporates elements from all of them. Fashion is one of many windows into the culture, and aspects are picked up from where to tell a tale of cultural domination, migrant mobility, historical patterns, and current twists. And how these people move throughout the world is even more fascinating.

Our Ethiopia e-Visa services make it simple and quick for you to begin your travel throughout Ethiopia. Let's investigate and look for the online application form from now on!

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