World, Africa

Ethiopian Orthodox Christians celebrate Epiphany

Epiphany in Horn of Africa country added to UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2019

Seleshi Tessema   | 19.01.2021
Ethiopian Orthodox Christians celebrate Epiphany Ethiopian Orthodox Christians are washed with sprinkled holy water during the Timkat celebrations, which marks the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, at Jan Meda Sports Field, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on January 19, 2021. ( Minasse Wondimu Hailu - Anadolu Agency )

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia 

Ethiopian Orthodox Christians across the Horn of Africa nation on Tuesday marked Epiphany, a colorful religious and cultural commemoration of the baptism of Jesus.

In the capital Addis Ababa, which was beautified with flags, symbols of the church, and portraits of saints, the two-day celebration began on Monday afternoon.

Thousands of singing and chanting Christians accompanied the priests of the capital’s 78 churches who were ceremoniously taking the Holy Tablets (Tabots) to designated public spaces in various parts of the city where the celebration took place.

Church leaders, officials, and tens of thousands of people of all ages attended the hours-long main celebration at the city’s spacious sports complex, Jan Meda.

Ethiopian Orthodox Church Patriarch Abune Mathias, who sprinkled the holy water on the participants, said the Epiphany provides an opportunity to believers to live a life of unity, apology, and spirituality.

“It is our duty to protect and promote our culture and belief,” he added.

Worshipper Menaye Tesfa, 31, said the Ethiopian Epiphany was a unique event of religious and cultural self-expression. "We come to Jan Meda in our finest dressing to share the blessings of the celebration, sing, dance and enjoy the heritage."

At the end of the celebration, the participants accompanied the Holy Tablets to their respective churches.

In 2019, UNESCO added the Ethiopian Epiphany to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

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