Ethiopian Epiphany Joins UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage List

ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopian epiphany or Timket has been inscribed on the Intangible Heritage List of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The approval makes the festival the fourth intangible heritage of Ethiopia inscribed in UNESCO’s world intangible heritage.

The other three heritages inscribed are Meskel, the Geda System and Fichee Chambalaalla.

UNESCO announced Ethiopian Epiphany’s inscription on the List of Intangible Heritage humanity Today via Twitter

About the Festival

Ethiopian epiphany, one of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahado Church’s most widely celebrated holiday, is a colorful festival commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the River Jordan.

The commemoration starts on the eve of the main festival on 18 January. The eve is known as Ketera, which means blocking the flow of water for the blessing of the celebrants.

On the eve of Ketera, people escort their parish church Tabot (replicas of the Ark of the Covenant) to Timkete-Bahir (a pool, river or artificial reservoir), transported by a priest of the parish and accompanied by a great ceremony.

The people spend the night attending night-long prayers and hymn services, including the Eucharistic Liturgy. Hundreds of thousands participate in the actual festival on the following day – 19 January.

The celebration starts early in the morning with pre-sunrise rituals. These are followed by the sprinkling of the blessed water on the congregation, as well as other ceremonies.

At around 10 a.m., each Tabot begins its procession back to its respective church, involving an even more colorful ceremony with various traditional and religious songs.

The viability of the element is ensured through its continued practice, with Orthodox clergies playing a pivotal role: they sing the praises dedicated to the rituals and hymns, carry the Ark, and preach relevant texts.

Timket or Ethiopian Epiphany’s celebration in Gonder’s Fasiledes [Photo File]

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