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Timket: Ethiopians leap into pool during holy festival

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    1 day ago
Ethiopian Orthodox faithful gets baptized during the annual Epiphany celebration called Image source, Reuters/Tiksa Negeri

Celebrations have been taking place in Ethiopia’s historic holy city of Gondar for the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian festival of Timket.

The celebration, which marks the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan, is considered one of the most important religious festivals in the country.

But this year things have been more subdued than usual because the Amhara region has witnessed outbursts of violence between local militias and government troops in recent months.

Festivities continued this week despite the conflict, albeit with armed police officers standing guard.


Saturday’s main event took place after pre-sunrise rituals, and hundreds of youngsters used the pool in front of one of Gondar’s fortresses to get baptised.

A member of the Amhara police force stands guard next to Ethiopian Orthodox worshippers.

Image source, AFP

A woman banging a drum

Image source, BBC/Amensisa Negera

A group of women in religious dress

Image source, BBC/Amensisa Negera

On Friday, choirs took to the streets to escort replicas of the Ark of Covenant – also known as tabots – that, according to tradition, contain the ‘Ten Commandments’.

Priests carried tabots into one of the fortresses in Gondar, where they will be kept until the end of the festivities.

A group of women at the festival

Image source, BBC/Amensisa Negera

A religious man

Image source, BBC/Amensisa Negera

A priest

Image source, BBC/Amensisa Negera

Priests carrying tabots into a castle

Image source, BBC/Amensisa Negera

Attendees get baptised in a huge outdoor pool

Image source, BBC/Amensisa Negera

Attendees line the baptism pool

Image source, BBC/Amensisa Negera

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