Ledet & Timket
Ledet (Ethiopian Christmas)

Ledet falls on Tahsas 29th on the Ethiopian calendar (January 7thon the Gregorian calendar). It is celebrated after 43 days of fasting, known as Tsome Gehad (advent), with a spectacular procession, which begins at early 6 am and lasts until 9 am.

After the mass (service), people go home to break the fasting with the meat of chicken or lamb or beef accompanied by Injera and the traditional drinks Tella and Tej.
Timkat (Epiphany, Celebrating’s Christ Baptism)

  Tabot ( The Ark of the Covenant ) Timket (Epiphany) is one of the greatest festivals in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. The most colorful pageant in the year is when churches parade their Tabots (replicas of the Ark of the Covenant) to nearby body of water.

This is Timkat (epiphany), the commemoration of Christ’s baptism, which falls between 18th and 19th of January, and is invariably celebrated in an explosion of joy throughout the nation by people from all walks of life. In the afternoon, a clergyman rings the church bell to signal the start of Timkat and summon the faithful to gather to the church.

In the most important ritual during the two days of celebration, high priests and faithful congregation remove the sacred Tabots to the baptism bath, known as Timket Bahir and stay overnight. There, thousands gather to renew their religious vows and receive baptism. The Tabots seen only by priests, never by congregants, are cloaked in rich brocades and carried high above the priests’ heads in the midst of thousands of celebrating followers. The deacons carry large, colorful umbrellas fringed and decorated with crosses, stars, suns and crescent moons. The crowd highlights the occasion by singing, clapping hands and dancing. The enthusiastic crowd is led by deacons carrying sparkling gold and silver crosses. As the crowd surges forward, playing cymbals, drams and biblical haps the air is filled with the ululations of women and the throbbing beat of kebero (sacred drum).

At dawn, after mass, the whole community is led in a procession to nearby spring, whose water is blessed with an old cross. The head priest took great pleasure in throwing water at every one. It is a Joyous moment with huge smiles around. Youngsters in great number splash crowed. Some mothers dunk their infants fully beneath the water in joyful expression of the act of baptism. If the body of the water is large enough, some people will immerse themselves. Women who are unable to have children participate in the ritual for fertility. The Tabot is paraded back to its church accompanied by much singing and dancing.

(Axum is considered the best place to be on Timkat)

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