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Which countries celebrate the baptism festival along with Ethiopia?

Epiphany - Timkat Welkite
Epiphany celebration in Welkite (Photo credit : EOTC TV)

By Staff Reporter

ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – Epiphany festival is a yearly celebration observed by followers of the Orthodox faith to commemorate the day Jesus Christ was baptized in River Jordan. This festival is celebrated in different countries across the world. Which countries celebrate this festival along with Ethiopia?

Folks from various countries, such as Ethiopia, Eritrea, Russia, and Jordan, have been marking the baptism festival (epiphany) for centuries with unique ceremonies. Last Friday, January 19, these countries continued to celebrate this festival. Folks from various countries, such as Ethiopia, Eritrea, Russia, and Jordan, have been marking the baptism festival for centuries with unique ceremonies. Last Friday on January 19, these countries continue to celebrate this festival.

In Ethiopia, the baptism festival is named Timket, which refers to the act of immersing oneself in holy water or performing baptism. During this festival, all Orthodox Christians come together to accompany the arks that hold religious artefacts. These Arks are taken to a sacred location to carry out the baptism or other religious rites. The place where the arks are left overnight is called Ketera. People of all ages, both young and old, dress up in clean white clothes and follow the arks to Ketera. Baptism is celebrated in the same religious system in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Russia is one of the countries that celebrates the baptism festival with more than 90 million followers of the Orthodox faith. During this festival, Russian Orthodox believers commemorate the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River and the Trinity by immersing themselves in ice water three times.

Russian Orthodox believers immerse themselves in ice water three times to absolve their sins. They also believe that all water is holy during baptism, and that snow has a positive effect on them.

It is a tradition in Ukraine to celebrate baptism by cutting ice into the shape of a cross, adding water, and immersing oneself. Additionally, some followers of the Orthodox faith in certain European countries participate in a baptism ceremony that includes a swimming race in deep, cold water.

Every year in Bosnia and Herzegovina, believers participate in a unique swimming competition. During this event, priests throw a wooden cross into the water, and the participants jump in to catch it. The person who successfully retrieves the cross and returns it to the ground is believed to receive a blessing for the entire year.  

Meanwhile, Hindustan Times reported yesterday about a video, which has gone viral on social networking sites showing the Russian President, Vladimir Putin publicly celebrating the Baptism festival by taking a dip into the ice cold waters on the eve of Epiphany. 

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