by Addis Getachew
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
Followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox faith on Friday celebrated Timket -- also called the Epiphany -- a holiday commemorating Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River.
To mark the day, tents called Tabots were pitched to house tablets bearing the Ten Commandments from all churches.
Hundreds of thousands gathered at Jan Meda, the largest open field in the capital Addis Ababa, where 11 Tabots were placed in tents for the Timket celebration.
Holy water was sprinkled on believers, and spiritual songs sung by clergy wearing colorful vestments livened the occasion.
Marking the holy day, church Patriarch Abuna Mathias spoke on the significance of peace, love, compassion, and charity.
Attending the ceremony for the first time, Richard Hillico from Australia described the celebration as “massive”.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said, adding that the sense of get-together in Ethiopia differs from festivals in Australia, which he said, only bring families together, not such a huge crowd.
“I came here to see what my friends said was a very colorful event,” said Charles Kim Hyungchun Kim, a Korean doctor working at a hospital in Addis Ababa.
“I found it even better than what they described. The religious procession, the chants, the way people dress all give the occasion a great sense of togetherness and a joyous mood.”