Ketera, Eve of Epiphany Splendidly Celebrated in Ethiopia

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ENA, January 19/2020Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church followers celebrated Ketera, the eve of Timket or Epiphany today.

Timket festivity is celebrated on January 19th in Ethiopia (20th in a leap year) and it commemorates the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist at River Jordan.

The eve of the celebration is known as Ketera, meaning locally blockage of water for the blessing of the celebrants followed by the major celebration Timket, and Kana Ze Gelila which is celebrated after the day of Timket.

During Ketera, the Tabot, which is replica of the Ark of the Covenant, is taken out of each church and borne aloft by high priests to the nearest river, lake or pond where the shared baptism is to take place the next day.

Crowded followers ushered their parish church Tabot to Timkete-Bahir, which might be a pool, river or artificial reservoir, transported by a priest of the parish.

The Tabots hang about for the night near the water and rituals carry on in the night and people spend the night attending night-long prayers and hymn services, including the Eucharistic Liturgy.

Celebration  begins early morning with pre-sunrise rituals, followed by the sprinkling of the blessed water on the congregation.

Tomorrow, each Tabot begins its procession back to its respective church, except for Archangel Michael and Raphael that stay for another day, involving an even more colorful ceremony with various traditional and religious songs.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has registered Timket (the Epiphany) celebration as an intangible world cultural heritage recently.

Timket has been celebrated in Ethiopia for over 1,500 years.