Timket – Ethiopian Epiphany

Timket - Ethiopian Epiphany

Timket festival or Epiphany in Ethiopia is the ritual of reliving the actual baptism of Lord Jesus Christ in the Jordan River. This anniversary is the most significant one within the Ethiopian Orthodox divinity. It is celebrated on Terr 10 of Ethiopian Calendar, which falls on Jan 19 or 20 (leap Year) in the Gregorian calendar.

It’s a three days long celebration which is held by Christians all over the country but differs from one place to another.

Lalibela, Gondar and Addis Ababa being the most prominent cities, the most renowned place to celebrate Timket is a church in Gondar, Once King Fassiledes’s Castle transformed into a church. This sacred place is now the most symbolic of all churches in Ethiopia when it comes to the annual Timket ceremony.

This is due to the fact that Gondar  it is the only city to hold all the forty four Tabots or arks togather at this significant time.

Furthermore the church consists of a pond within its complex, which serves as a re eminence of the Jordan River.

On the eve of Timket, known as Ketera, priests and deacons wearing colourful robes and crowns participate in the festive processions. The priests pray throughout the long night and Kedase is concluded at around 2:00 a.m.

People in masses camp out, singing church music, eating and drinking sitting around fires and torches. Christian followers attend an early afternoon mass service.

Timket Ethiopia
Timket Ethiopia Festival in Ethiopia

Followed by the actual Timket day the Tabots are carried by priests over their heads, where the Ceremony begins by the divine worship celebrated near the body of water early in the morning.

After which the water is blessed and sprinkled on the followers. Many choose to submerge themselves into the holy water, thus emblematically renewing their baptism.


After the baptism the Tabots of each church return to their respective churches. They are taken back to their churches in a vibrant parade.