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Ethiopian Epiphany inscribed in UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Timkat celebration. Photo credit : FBC

December 12, 2019

United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed a decision to inscribe Ethiopian Epiphany in the list of World Intangible Cultural Heritage.

It is the Fourteenth session Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage which is undertaking its meeting in Bogotá, Columbia, that passed the decision.

The Ethiopian Embassy in France said Djibouti has contributed immensely to the decision.

“Ethiopian epiphany is a colorful festival celebrated all over Ethiopia to commemorate the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the River Jordan,” UNESCO described Timket.

This is the second Ethiopian Orthodox Church holiday to be inscribed in the list of intangible world heritage. In 2013, Meskel, also one of the most colorful Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Holidays that draws millions of faithful followers and tourists, was recognized by UNESCO as a cultural heritage.

Timkat celebration in Gondar. Photo credit : FBC

Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, one of the earliest Churches the world over, said that it is pleased with the decision of UNESCO to inscribe Timkat as World heritage.

Abune Mathias, the Patriarch, has issued a statement on Thursday in the afternoon regarding UNESCO’s decision, according to Fana Broadcasting Corporation (FBC).

He said ” Congratulations; the most beloved and colorful holiday of ours, Timkat, is listed as a world heritage by United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization.”

The church, Ethiopian government, and Ethiopians, especially followers of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, intellectuals have been advocating to get recognition of Timkat as one of the intangible world heritage.

Ethiopia has two more cultural festivals that are recognized by UNESCO as a world intangible heritage. Chembelala, Sidama New Year festival in south Ethiopia, and Geda System which UNESCO described as “…a traditional system of governance used by the Oromo people in Ethiopia.”

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