Yesterday was the eve before Orthodox Church’s Epiphany, or Timket Katera, as known here in Ethiopia. I went to the Timket celebration in Jan Meda in Addis Ababa last year, and it was amazing. This time, I went to the evening ceremony.
Earlier in the day every church in town prepared their replica of the ark, and a festival crowd accompanied the ark convoy marching to their destinations in open fields across the city. The ark will be parked inside a tent and stayed the night over. It is the only day of the year when the ark stays outside of the church. Many people gathered and camped in the fields and waited for the sunrise of Epiphany. Priests, deacons and the believers’ praying chants echoed the starry moonlit night. No electric light was spotted: the entire place was lit by countless candles, Tuafs (long candles unique to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church) and faith that the next year will be a blessed and bright one.