Religion playing such an important role in the Ethiopian society, festivals and ceremonies provide many high points in the calendar; only the Ethiopian Orthodox Church celebrates not less than 150 festivities per year.
The various ethnic groups have their own new years and other festivals and ceremonies, some unique to that culture while others are common to many.
The following are the most famous festivals common to most cultures. Nevertheless, although every festival has some features common to all, each ethnic group has its own version.
Timket (Ethiopian Epiphany)
This is the commemoration of Christ's baptism, which falls on the 19th of January. The Tabot is taken out in the afternoon on the eve of epiphany and stays overnight with the priests and faithful congregation. The following morning the water is blessed and splashed over everyone in a ceremony where the faithful renew their vows to the church. If the body of water is large enough, some people will immerse themselves. Women who have been unable to have children participate in the ritual for fertility. After the ceremony, the Tabot is paraded back to its Church accompanied by much singing and dancing.
The fasting period culminates on the last two and half days long fasting ritual.
Enkutatash (Ethiopian New Year)
Priests in full ceremonial dress bless the bonfire before it is lit. This festival coincides with the mass blooming of the golden Yellow Maskal Daisies, called Adey Ababa in Amharic; symbolically heralding the advent of a new year after the rainy season is over.
Traditionally, young men play a game called Genna that is similar to the European hockey.
|Acknowledgement: This web site contains some excerpts from the various publications of the Ethiopian Tourism Commission.
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