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Crowds gather at the Fasiladas' bath in Gondar, Ethiopia, to celebrate Timket. Some rights reserved by Jialiang Gao.

The three days of Timkat

May I wish you all a happy and blessed Timkat season. Tim­kat, I should explain, is an important festival of the 40-million-strong Orthodox Church of Ethiopia. By common consent, it is one of the world's most spectacular religious festivals. A three-day celebration literally brings large areas of the country to a halt in a season dedicated to elaborate rituals, to feasting and gift giving, pageantry and mysticism. In vast pilgrimages and processions, individual churches parade their tabots —symbols of the Ark of the Covenant.


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