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Religious and secular festivals in Ethiopia are often colorful events with pageantry music and dancing. If you can; coincide with one of it. Don’t miss it.
Ethiopia’s public holidays can be divided into three categories i.e.
1. National Secular Holidays
2. Christian Orthodox Church Festivals
3. Islamic Holidays
CHIRSTIAN ORTHODOX FESTIVALS
Major Ethiopian orthodox festivals include:
LEDET (GENA) similar to Christmas which will mostly occur at January 6-7 every year and it is less important than timket (epiphany) and MESKEL (cruisification of GOD). Christmas is still significant, the faithful attend all night church services, often moving from one church to another.
On Christmas day, the traditional game of GENA (which is almost similar to hockey but traditional using traditional materials for the game) and sometimes horse GUGS (a kind of polo game) are played. This festival will be celebrated in all parts of Ethiopia but with a special emphasis followed by different enjoyable and cultural activities at LALIBELA town. A lot of tourists either from abroad or from the local will select to go to LALIBELA to celebrate this festival.
TIMKET (epiphany which will be celebrated to remember the day of GOD’s baptism). This will occur at January 19 every year. Unlike the other festivals this festival will be celebrated for at least 3 days and is the most colorful one. On this festival a lot of people will came out to the streets to accompany the TABOTS (replica of the arc of the covenant) which are available at their nearby village and took them on the nearby body of water on the afternoon of the eve of the festival. And every TABOT will arrive at the selected nearby water body and spent the hall night by praying to God together leading by priests and many faithful participants.
The following morning the crowds gather around the blessed water and splashed on to them. Religious vows are renewed. The TABOTS is then back to their church accompanied by much singing and dancing.
TIMKET will be celebrated in all places of the country but with a special emphasis at Gondar town. Very recently the government is trying all the necessary steps to register the celebration of timket at Gonder on UNESCO as that of the other heritage sites or attractions.
KIDUS YOHANNES (Ethiopian new year) also known as locallyenkutatash is an important family and social event. Traditionally new clothes are bought for the occasion, particularly for children. On this day relatives and friends are visited and special feasts particularly DORO WOT will be prepared in every house. This holiday occur at September 11 every year.
MESKEL (Finding of the true cross) which occur at September 27 and lasts for two days.
It is the most colorful festival next to TIMKET which will be celebrated at the streets accompanied by lots of peoples and tourists together. Bon fires are tied (most commonly the meskeldaisy) and will be blessed and lit, dancing and singing will be done around the fire and priests done their full regalia. Addis Ababa, Gondar and Axum are good places to experience this holiday. Also this holiday will get higher attention by one of the nation of Ethiopia named GURAGE.
FESTIVE OF MARIAM TSION which occur at November 30 and is exclusive to AXUM, celebrating the name sake of famous church of saint mariyam of tsion(believed by the Ethiopians the original house of the Ark of the Covenant) there is much singing and dancing.
AXUM is very ideal place for these colorful events don’t miss it!!!
Reviews & news
Ethiopia as the Winner of "World's Best Tourist Destination for 2015" Ethiopia's Most Beautiful World Heritage Sites Cultural: Aksum (1980), Fasil Ghebbi, Gondar Region (1979), Harar Jugol, the Fortified Historic Town (2006), Konso Cultural Landscape (2011), Lower Valley of the Awash (1980), Lower Valley of the Omo (1980), Rock-Hewn Churches, Lalibela (1978), Tiya (1980), Natural Simien National Park (1978)