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Epiphany Ketera : celebrated across Ethiopia

Gondar city is said to have attracted more than 500,000 visitors for Epiphany Timkat from across Ethiopia and abroad 

Timkat _ Ketera _ Epiphany
Priests carry the Ark of the Covenant at the Ketera procession (photo :ENA)

January 18, 2021

Epiphany is one of the most colorful religious festivals in Ethiopia. Now recognized as UNESCO world heritage, it is attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists to the country although the Coronavirus situation has impacted it negatively. 

The Ethiopian Church advised its followers that the holiday will be celebrated while observing 

Today is the eve of the holiday, and it is locally known as Ketera. It marks the procession of  the Ark of the Covenant to places with water features designated for the celebration. The Symbolism is that Jesus went to the River Jordan where he was baptized in the hands of John. 

Ketera celebration at Jan meda, Addis Ababa (photo : ENA)

In the capital Addis Ababa, replicas of  the Ark of the Covenant make procession to Jan Meda — which is nearby to the main campus of Addis Ababa University in Sidist Kilo. 

Timkat is uniquely spectacular in Gondar  — which attracts tourists from abroad and faithfuls of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo church from across the country. 

On Tuesday, the Ark of the Covenant, except one from saint Michael, make processions back to their respective churches. The procession for the Ark from St. Michel is the next day — which is commemorated as Saint Michael’s day in the tradition of Ethiopian Orthodox Church(the 12th day of the months in Ethiopian calendar except the last month which is only five days)  And the celebration is cultural as much as it is religious. 

“The feast of Timkat [ local name for Epiphany] is the greatest holiday which made us known across the world for our faith” Patriarch Abune Mathias said during the Ketera celebration in Jan Meda, as reported by Ethiopian News Agency.  

Ethiopian politicians including the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, and regional leaders have conveyed best wishes on the occasion of the holiday. 

The Prime Minister has conveyed a lengthy message, a written one which has become a customary practice for him, and shared it on his social media page. As it is the case before, he finds a way to embed political messages in his Gospel preaching like message. “Jesus beat devil’s conceit with humility,” perhaps a metaphor of the situation before and after the law enforcement operation against TPLF in the Tigray region Ethiopia.  

Addis Ababa police and police in other cities, especially in Gondar, said that a security arrangement is made to ensure that the religious and cultural holiday is celebrated peacefully. 

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  1. I missed both Genna and Timket but specially Timket. But is this video from my last year? If it is from this year’s celebration then something is dangerously wrong. Most of the clerics and citizens are not seen wearing masks and that is a recipe for a disaster. I believe faith heals and protects but it also teaches us precautions. It tells us to learn how to swim first before hopping in a pond. I could not believe what I saw in the video. It was absolutely reckless.

  2. Timiket celebrated by debteras and pastors of orthodox church who are silent when their brothers and sisters killd by mercenaries from Somolia, Eritrea and Amhara militia.

    This crime will embarrass your future children .

    keep on brain washing and telling fabricated stories of Adwa to your children. Amhara had never been will never be a victorious. However, amhara soldiers are known to be losers, coward killers of women and children in the churchyard.


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