Category: Festival Attractions

The festival commemorates Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. Priests sprinkle holy water over the Christians present and receive the renewals of their vows.  The congregation then follows the bishops, elders and clergy as the Tabot is carried back to the church. Fasiladas’ bath in Gondar is the best place to experience the colourful celebration of Timket It is hilarious see hundreds of pilgrims jump into the water of Fasilidas bath at the end of the celebration.


The Virgin is one of the most venerated of all religious figures in Ethiopia.

About 33 days are annually dedicated to different celebrations in the commemoration of Mary. “Hidar Zion” is associated with the presence of the Ark of the Covenant in Axum and the belief that the Ark itself is a symbolism to Her womb. This festival is attended by tens of thousands of people from all over Ethiopia, making it one of the most joyous annual pilgrimages in Axum, the “sacred city of the Ethiopians.”


The Ethiopian New Year falls in September at the big rains. The sun comes out to shine all day long creating an atmosphere of dazzling clarity and fresh clean air. The highlands turns to gold as the Meskal daisies burst out in their entire splendor. Ethiopia children –clad in brand new clothes dance through the villages giving bouquets of flowers and painted pictures to each household.
Enkutatash is not exclusively a religious holiday and the little girls singing and dancing in pretty new dresses among the flowers in fields convey the message of spring –time and renewed life. Enkutatash is also the reason for exchanging New Year greetings and cards among the urban sophisticated –in lieu of the traditional bouquet of flower.

The colorful ceremony of Christmas Eve is held within the unforgettable rock hewn churches of Lalibela. Thousands of pilgrims travel to Lalibela for two reasons: To celebrate Christmas and the birthday of former priest King Lalibela. With chanting and dancing led by Lalibela priests, the people sing with joy along to rhythmic drum beats to celebrate the birth of Christ.


Meskel is second in importance only to Timekt and has been celebrated in the country for over 1,600 years. The word actually means “cross ‘”and the feast commemorates the discovery of the cross –upon which Jesus was crucified –by the Empress Helena, the mother of Constastin the great. The original event took palce on 19th of March, AD 326, but the feast is now celebrated on 27th of September. It also signifies the physical presence of the true cross at the remote mountain monastery of Gishen Mariam located in the Welo region. During this time of the year, vast bonfires are lit countrywide, the night before the celebration, and on the day itself there are dances and feasting for everyone. This festival also coincides with the mass blooming of the golden yellow “Meskel daisies ‘called adey abeba in Amharic. People of all ages are seen in the streets carrying fresh bunches of yellow flowers.

The holy Tabot, a replica of the Ark of the Covenant, is taken from each church to a central area accompanied by priests bearing prayer sticks followed by keen believers ringing bells, blowing trumpets and carrying incense burners

Epiphany – Timket

Timiket is the greatest festival of the year, falling on 29 January, just two weeks after the Ethiopian Christmas .it is actually a three –day affair beginning on the eve of Timiket with dramatic and colorful processions. The following morning, the great day itself, Christ baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist is commemorated. The third day is devoted to the feast of St.Michael the archangel, one of Ethiopia’s most popular saints. Since October and the end of the rains, the country dries up steadily. The sun blazes down from a clear blue sky and festival of Timiket always take s place in glorious weather.

Enormous effort is put into the occasion. Tej and Tella (Ethiopian meat and beer) are brewed, special bread and the fat –tailed African sheep are fattened for slaughter. Gift are prepared for the children and new clothes purchased or old clothes mended and laundered. Everyone –men, women and children –appears resplendent for the three day celebration. Dressed in dazzling whit traditional dress, the locals e provide a dramatic contrast to the jewel colors of the ceremonial velvets and stains of the priest robe and sequined velvet umbrellas .on the eve of the 18 January , the priest remove the Tabots from each church and bless the water of the pool or river where the next day’s celebration will take place . It is the Tabot (symbolizing the Ark of the Covenant containing the Ten Commandments) rather than the church building which is consecrated, and it is accorded extreme reverence.

Easter is the celebration of the Christ’s resurrection took place on Sunday that for this reason was named as the “lord’s day“. Fasika (Easter) is celebrated after 55 days sever lent fasting (Hudade or Aby Tsome ). Orthodox Tewahido Christian does not eat meat and dairy products for the whole 55 day to commemorate the 40 days of lent fasting of Jesus before his crucifixion. Only vegetarian meals such as lentils, ground split peas, grains fruit and varieties of vegetable stew accompanied by Injera and /or bread are eaten on these days. During the fasting days, the first meal of the day is taken after 3 pm (9 O’clock in the afternoon of Ethiopia time), except Saturday and Sunday when a meal is allowed after the morning service.


Ledet (Christmas ) falls on December 29 of Ethiopian calendars (January 7 Gregorian calendar ) it is celebrated after 43 days of fasting , known as Tsome Gehad (Advent ), with a spectacular procession , which begins at 6 AM and last until 9 AM . After the mass service , people go jome to break the fast with the meat of chicken or lamb or beef accompanied by Injera and the traditional drinks that is “Tella “ and “Tej “ .