Timkat in Ethiopia and Eritrea Date in the current year: January 19, 2018

Timkat in Ethiopia and Eritrea Timkat (also may be spelled as Timket or Timqat) is the Orthodox celebration of Epiphany in Ethiopia and Eritrea. It's celebrated on January 19 or January 20 on leap year.

The Ethiopians and Eritreans are Orthodox Christians, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo church was granted its own patriarch by Coptic Orthodox Church in 1959, that is relatively recently. The Church uses Julian calendar to determine the dates of the holidays.

The celebration of Timkat has specific traditions. The major tradition is a process ceremony, that involves the tabot. This is a model of the Ark of the Covenant, that is present on every Ethiopian altar. The tabot is wrapped in rich cloth and borne on the head of the priest, who takes part in the procession. This represents the manifestation of Jesus when he came to the Jordan for baptism.

The procession is finished near a pool or a stream, where the Divine liturgy is served at about 2 a.m. The body of water is blessed towards dawn and sprinkled on the participants. Some people may enter the water and immerse themselves, as a symbol of renewing baptismal vows. The celebration of Timkat is not over. The tabot is brought back to the church, dancing and singing follows the end of the procession. Everyone goes back home to continue celebration of Timkat with the family.

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Ethiopia, Eritrea


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