ADDIS ABABA (AA) – Christians started on Sunday celebrating the Ethiopian Orthodox Epiphany, a three-day occasion that marks the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River.
Hundreds of thousands of people streamed onto Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa from different parts of the country to escort the Holy Slabs, which is locally known as Tabot, on their way to the areas where the Holy Slabs spend the Eve of the occasion, which is locally known as Timket.
The Tabot is a replica of the Tablets of Law, onto which the Biblical Ten Commandments were inscribed. It is used in the practices of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Wrapped in rich silk materials, the Tabot was escorted by singing Sunday school students and priests. They all held colorful and embroidered umbrellas.
The Tabot usually spends the night in special tents, while prayers continue throughout the night.
“Timket represents redemption for Christians,” Emebet Tesfaye, a mother of three children who was keen to be part of the event, told The Anadolu Agency.
“It does not only have religious values, but cultural ones as well,” she added.
Another participant, Bizunesh Kassa, said she had prepared traditional cuisine and drinks to mark the occasion.
She said Timket this year brought her another reason to celebrate, namely the return of her daughter after a year and a half outside Ethiopia.
“As Timket is an event traditionally celebrated with loved ones, you can imagine how I feel because my only daughter is home on this big day,” Kassa added.
The libation of holy water is expected to take place on Monday morning. Priests usually sprinkle water on the assembled congregation in commemoration of Christ’s baptism.
Tabot will then be carried back to its respective churches in the company of the followers of the Christian religion.
The third day of the celebration is usually dedicated to the archangel, St. Michael. It is celebrated in honor of Jesus Christ’s miracle of turning water into wine.
Timket is a magnet for a large number of Ethiopians and foreign tourists as well every year.
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