Ethiopian Orthodox Followers Celebrate Ketera, eve of Epiphany

Ethiopian Orthodox Followers celebrates Ketera, the eve of the Ethiopian Epiphany, a holiday commemorating Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River.

Hundreds of thousands gathered at Jan Meda, the largest open field in the capital Addis Ababa, where “Tabots’’ were placed in tents for the Timket celebration.

Every year followers of Ethiopian Orthodox Church celebrate Timket on January 19 across the country, during the festival, tabots, models of the Ark of the Covenant, are taken from churches to a common gathering place where religious members attend.

This three-day celebration of the Epiphany, is marked with special fervor in Gonder.

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.

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