Epiphany

Timkat (which means "baptism" in Amharic) is the most important festival in the Ethiopian calendar.

It is the Ethiopian Orthodox celebration of Epiphany celebrated on January 19 (or 20 on Leap Year), corresponding to the 10th day of Terr following the Ethiopian calendar. Timket celebrates the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. This festival is best known for its ritual reenactment of baptism (similar to such reenactments performed by numerous Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land when they visit the Jordan).

During the ceremonies of Timkat, the Tabot, a model of the Ark of the Covenant, which is present on every Ethiopian altar (somewhat like the Western altar stone), is reverently wrapped in rich cloth and born in procession on the head of the priest. The Tabot, which is otherwise rarely seen by the laity, represents the manifestation of Jesus as the Messiah when he came to the Jordan for baptism. The Divine Liturgy is celebrated near a stream or pool early in the morning (around 2 a.m.). Then the nearby body of water is blessed towards dawn and sprinkled on the participants, some of whom enter the water and immerse themselves, symbolically renewing their baptismal vows.