Timket (Ethiopian Epiphany)

Timket (Ethiopian Epiphany), which falls on the 19th of January is the day when Christians celebrate the baptism of Christ. It's a three-day festival and all the ceremonies are conducted with great pomp. The eve of Timket (18 January) is called Ketera. On this day the tabots of each church are carried out in procession to a place near a river where the next day's celebration will take place. A special tent is set up for each tabot, each hosting a proud manner depicting the church's saint. The ceremony is accompanied by hymns and dances of the priests, drum beating, bell ringing and blowing of trumpets.

The next morning (19 January) around dawn ecclesiastics and believers go to the water and attend the praying. A senior priest dips a golden processional cross in the water to bless it and extinguishes a consecrated candle in it. Then he sprinkles the water on the people in commemoration of Christ's baptism.

The next day (20 January) is the feast of the Archangel Michael, Ethiopia's most popular saint. This morning, his tabot is returned to his church, again accompanied by singing and dancing of priests. This marks the end of the three-day celebration. The best place to attend the event is Lalibela, Gondar or Addis Ababa.