Africa Culture Ethiopia Tourism Travel

Ethiopia: Religious festivity in January attracts tourism

Religious festivity in Ethiopia, which is basically owned by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahio Church, is attracting tourism in the country in this month of January. The main holidays that are celebrated in the month of January includes but not limited to Ethiopian Christmas, Epiphany, and Qana Zegelila.

Ethiopian Epiphany, which is known as “timket” in Amharic, is the most popular holiday throughout the country. This year’s timket (Ethiopian Epiphany) is different from previous celebrations since it is the first one after recognized as world’s heritage by the UNESCO.

As per the belief of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahio Church, timket (Ethiopian Epiphany) is celebrated with great ceremony in all churches that usually extends from January 18 to 21 based on the apostolic tradition of the churches in different places. The celebration starts from the eve by accompanying the tabots (arks of the covenants) with great solemn to the baptismal water (rivers). Millions of people, mainly the faithful and tourists, celebrate the feasts by attending in the places where the ceremony is held.

The main timket events that usually attract tourists in Ethiopia include:

  • The dressing code in timket (Ethiopian Epiphany) is different. Women, men, children, elders dressed with new and colorful dresses while accompanying the ark of the covenants (tabots);
  • On the way to the churches, the clergy (priests) perform “shibsheba” (religious dancing and performance) in selected destinations that stayed for more than 1600 years;
  • Gonder, an ancient city in the northern part of Ethiopia, is one of the main attraction sites of the celebration. In this year of 2020, more than fifteen thousand foreign tourists and more than two million faithful decorate the festival in Gonder. It was also graced by the president of the Country, President Sahle Work Zewde.
  • The JanMeda Celebration of timket in Addis Ababa is also a convenient location for visitors that are surrounding the capital city of Addis Ababa
  • The Minjar timket Celebration, which is 120 km away from Addis Ababa, is one of the ancient celebration locations that existed for more than 600 years without interruption.
  • And more others

Tourism in Ethiopia in particular and in Africa in general shall cultivate local tradition, intangible assets and religious ceremonies with a constructive and inclusive way.

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