Followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church yesterday celebrated Ketera, a religious service marking the eve of Epiphany, Timkat here at Jan Meda.
Timket is celebrated on January 19th (20th in a leap year) commemorating the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist at River Jordan. It is the biggest and most colorful festivals among Orthodox Christians in the country.
In Addis Ababa, the faithful from all the diocese of the Church escorted in a colorful procession the Holy Tabots (replica of the Ark of the Covenant) to baptismal sites.
Accompanied by chanting and dancing crowds, the different processions, led by priests carrying the Tabots and deacons as well as Sunday school students wearing colorful robes and crowns joined together along the way to the sites.
The Tabots stay overnight near the waters where Timket is celebrated and ceremonies continue during the night. The priests pray throughout the long night and people in masses camp out, singing church music, eating and drinking.
Both the Ketera and Timket ceremonies particularly are so colorful that they are attended by tourists from around the world.
At the beginning of the festival at Jan Meda, Dr. Abba Hailemariam Meles said Epiphany is one of the outdoor festivals and the nation's public holiday to commemorate the reality that Jesus was baptized in the hands of John the Baptist.
Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church His Holiness Abuna Mathias opened the festival giving his blessing to the congregation wishing a peaceful celebration. The Patriarch urged all Christians to further develop living in peace, tolerance and respecting one another.
Thousands of people including tourists, distinguished guests, ambassadors of various countries and dignitaries attended the holiday.