Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church nationwide on Tuesday are observing ‘Ketera‘, a religious service marking the eve of Epiphany (Timkat).
The festival of Timket is celebrated on January 19th (20th in a leap year) and it commemorates the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist at River Jordan. It is the biggest and most colorful festivals among Orthodox Christians in the country.
In Addis Ababa, the faithful from all the dioceses of the Church are escorting in a colorful procession the holy Tabots (replica of the Ark of the Covenant) to water bodies (rivers, lakes, ponds).
Accompanied by chanting and dancing crowds, the different processions, led by priests and deacons wearing colorful robes and crowns and carrying the Tabots, join together along the way to the water bodies, which are the main sites of the festival.
The Tabots stay overnight near the waters where Timket is celebrated and ceremonies continue during the night. The priests pray throughout the long night and people in masses camp out, singing church music, eating and drinking.
Both the ‘Ketera’ and ‘Timkat’ ceremonies particularly are so colorful that they are attended by several tourists from around the world.