Timket (Ethiopian Epiphany)

Date: January 20, 2024

Location: Gonder

Ethiopia has many fascinating festivals, cultural and religious pilgrimages, and depending on your dates of travel, we can integrate one of these festivals into a longer itinerary, whether you are travelling around the historic sites in the north of the country, or an Omo or bird watching tour.

Timket – Ethiopian Epiphany-
Timket commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. It is celebrated on January 19, or January 20 in a leap year. It is a 2 day affair.

Every Ethiopian Orthodox Church has a “tabot”, a replica of the Ark of the Covenant, or the stone on which was written the Ten Commandments – this is kept covered, inside the “Holy of Holies”, only accessible to the clergy.

The day before Timket the tabots are taken out from the nearby churches and carried to a place representing the baptism site – either a pool, river, or if there is no water there normally, water is brought to the site. The tabot is covered by embroidered cloth and carried on the head by the priest. The procession of the tabots is accompanied by singing, drumming and chanting.

On the 19th early in the morning, the head of the churches bless the water and then sprinkle it over the people congregated there. The tabots remain in place for one or two days, before being returned to their churches, again with much chanting and drumming.

This itinerary takes in major sites on Ethiopia’s Historic Route, with Timket in Gondar and a trip to the Simien Mountains. This is a summary, a detailed itinerary is available on request.

Day 01 (15 January): Arrive Addis Ababa around 07:00 and transfer to our hotel.
After lunch city tour, Mount Entoto, the museums, etc. o/n Addis Ababa.
Day 02 (16 January): Fly to Axum. Tour the sites in town. o/n Axum.
Day 03 (17 January): Fly to Lalibela, tour the rock hewn churches in town. o/n Lalibela.
Day 04 (18 January): Excursions to outlying churches. o/n Lalibela.
Day 05 (19 January): Fly to Gondar. Afternoon see the pre-Timket festivities, or ‘ketera’. o/n Gondar.
Day 06 (20 January): The main Timket Festival. o/n Gondar.
Day 07 (21 January): Drive to the Simien Mountains National Park (SMNP). Full day in the park, seeing Gelada Monkeys and Walia Ibex. o/n Lodge in park.
Day 08 (22 January): Early morning game drives, then return to Gondar. o/n Gondar.
Day 09 (23 January): Fly back to Addis Ababa, city visits, souvenir shopping farewell dinner with cultural music and dancing. Transfer to the airport for flight after midnight on Day 10.

Contact us for more details: ethiopianquadrants@gmail.com