Ethiopian Easter Sunday

Date: 12 April, 2020

Location: Addis Ababa

Day 01: Arrive Addis and City tour
Day 02: Participate the Last supper at Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Day 03: You will visit the Good Friday ceremony in different churches in Addis.
Day 04: You will drive North of Addis to Dabre Libanos and Blue nile Gorge. In the evening you will participate the Easter ceremony at Bole Medhanialem (Holy Savior) church.
Day 05: You will have breakfast at one local house. Departure

Day 01: Arrive Addis Ababa about 0700 and transfer to the Hilton/Sheraton Hotel (or other hotel of your choice). Rest up until lunch time, after which we will begin the city tour. We first drive north up to Mount Entoto. In 1881 Emperor Menelik II made his permanent camp there, after remains of an old town (believed to have been the capital of 16th century monarch Lebna Dengel) were discovered, which Menelik took as a divine and auspicious sign. Addis Ababa at between 2300 – 2500 meters is the third highest capital in the world and Entoto is several hundred meters higher – as we drive up the hill there is an appreciable drop in temperature and the air is filled with the scent of the Eucalyptus trees which line the road.
From the top, there is a panoramic view of the capital and surrounding countryside. Entoto is an important watershed; to the north, water flows to the Blue Nile and on to the Mediterranean, to the south to the Awash River and east to Djibouti. Your guide will point out the important landmarks of the city.
Entoto was soon abandoned as a site for the capital – it was cold, difficult to provision and there was a shortage of wood. Empress Taytu was said to have led the move down to the plain of Finfine in 1889, and to have named the new capital Addis Ababa, or New Flower. However, two important structures remain within the old imperial compound on Entoto, the churches of Mariam and the Archangel Raguel. It was in the church of Mariam that Menelik was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia in 1889, and in the small museum in the compound there are various clothes, court and household implements and weapons dating from the period. The church of Raguel is unusual in that it is octagonal, rather than round. There is a first story balustrade around which Menelik liked to stroll.
Leaving the churches we descend to Addis Ababa, stopping off at the National Archaeological Museum. Here visitors can see exhibits ranging from the 3.5 million-year-old bones of Lucy, from the Axumite and Gondarene periods through to the period of the monarchs Tewodros and Menelik II.
We now return to our hotel. After the long flight and with an early start the next day, visitors will probably feel like taking an early night.

Day 02: After breakfast around 09:00 you will drive to Holy Truinity Cathedral for Tselote Hamus (Prayer of Thursday). On Tselote Hamus, there are different practices in the memorial of Jesus Christ Last Supper. The Patriarch of EOTC will wash the Arch Bishops’ and Bishops’ foot. Following this all the church servants will wash the foot of the lower in the church hierarchy. This will followed by the Mass (It is not permiter to be inside the church for those who are not the follower of Orthodox Christianity). After the church ceremony you will go to one of the local house to try Gulban – a simple traditional dish made out of wheat grain and Ethiopian Fava Beans. Gulban could be eaten plain but usually seasoned with Ethiopian famous convoy Mitmita – a hot spice blend. Gulban is a seasonal, once in a year and Ethiopian family favorite dish. O/n Hotel

Day 03: Observing Good Friday (Siklet) is to commemorate the crucification of Jesus Christ through various church services. The day observed through a daylong fasting and prayers.
The day is part of the week long observance of the suffering and crucification of Jesus Christ particularly among the Ethiopian Orthodox church followers.
The week long observance that starts at Palm Sunday and ends at Holy Saturday is part of the 55 days of fasting season.
The faithful observes the day through a daylong fasting, prayers and bowing down repeatedly requesting for forgiveness from God.
On this day, the faithful gathered at churches to pray together and repent for their sins by fasting until 10pm, some are even continue to abstain from any kind of food and drink till Easter.
Day 04: Pick up from the hotel is at 8.00 am and we then head north on the Gojjam road to Debre Libanos, about 110 km from Addis Ababa or approximately two hours’ drive.
Debre Libanos is an important monastic center for Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, the monastery there was founded by the renowned 13th century mystic, Saint Teclehaimanot and there is a small cave near the church (which is of recent construction) where he is said to have stood for seven years on one leg, until the other wasted away and dropped off.
On this tour visitors can combine history and culture with some good bird watching, as we pass through the Sululta Plain we can see Black-winged plovers, Wattled Ibis, Blue-winged geese, Common Cranes and Wheat ears.
On arrival at Debre Libanos, we will first stop at the Jemma River gorge. The Jemma River is one of the tributaries of the Nile, and there is a drop of nearly 1000 metres to the valley below. Here at the gorge (and in the forest around the church) we can expect to see the Banded Barbet, the Black-headed Forest Oriole, the White-billed Starling, the Red-billed Starling, the White-winged Cliff Chat, the White-backed Black Tit, the White-cheeked Turaco and Hemprich’s Hornbill. We will also see one of Ethiopia’s endemic mammals, the Gelada or bleeding heart baboon. (In the gorge we will see a variety of vultures – Lamergeyer’s, Ruppell’s and Lappet faced vultures.)
Leaving the Gorge we proceed to the church. After the church visitors can make the climb to the cave of St Teklehaimanot. Near the cave monks may show visitors the remains of some 300 monks, slaughtered in 1936 by the Italian invaders. Mussolini and the fascist authorities saw the Ethiopian Orthodox Church as one of the key elements of an independent Ethiopian identity, and thought that by carrying out the massacre they would cow the Church and by extension the Ethiopian people into submission. Rather, this atrocity fed the flames of resistance.
If you continue up the hill from the cave from the top there’s a great view of the surrounding countryside.
At some stage we will take a picnic lunch, either at the Gorge or in the forest near the church. We will leave Debre Libanos around 4.30 PM, returning to Addis Ababa early evening. After you take dinner, you will go to Bole Medhanialem (Holy Savior) church to see the eve ceremony of Ethiopian Easter. The people come to church with full white cloths and the church servants will show a special song which is related with the Easter. At the beginning of the mass, you will leave for hotel.

Day 05: You will have breakfast at one of the local house with traditional ceremony. Departure