ADDIS ABABA – A planned attack on Ethiopian Epiphany (Timket) celebration has been foiled, said the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), as Ethiopian Christians start Epiphany festival today.
“Two groups of destructive forces were arrested while they were plotting to carry out attacks during Timket celebration in the city of Gondar, Amhara regional state,” NISS said in a statement issued on Saturday, according to FBC.
Members of the groups were planning to carry out the attack using explosives, it said adding the architects of the planned attacks will be announced in the future.
Four hand grenades have been seized in joint operation involving NISS, the National Defence army and the regional state’s security force.
President Sahle-Work Zewde, deputy Mayor of Addis Ababa city Takele Uma and First Lady Zinash Tayachew are currently in the city of Gondar, where the festival is being celebrated colorfully.
Timket festival commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the River Jordan.
Ethiopians celebrate Epiphany on Jan 19th (or 20th in a leap year). The ceremony begins today – the eve of the main Timket Festival which was inscribed on the list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO last month.
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. 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.
Image Caption: celebration of Timket in Gonder [Photo File/J. COUNTESS]