January 24, 2019

Celebrations in Ethiopia are truly spectacular, colourful events, mostly religious, and frequently take place over several days. The country hosts locals and visitors from all over the world, these one of a kind joyous celebration are something that all clients should experience. 




Exclusive to Ethiopia, the colourful annual street festival is a three-day event which starts from 18th of January and is celebrated until the 20th of January. Locals go outdoors in masses in their best traditional clothing to worship and commemorate the baptism of christ by John the Baptist. The eve of Timket (Ketera) involves moving the Tabots, a model of the Arc of Covenant from the churches. The Arc is carried by high priests and blesses the pilgrims with holy water.  


On the celebration day on the 19th of January, locals gather in Addis Ababa to watch the ceremonial baptism and worship. This awe-inspiring festival continues in Lalibela and in the capital city Addis Ababa. The festival culminates with the priests delivering the final service taking the Tabots back inside the church.

After this the celebration continues with a big feast with traditional special dishes of food and drink including distinctive dishes like doro wet (chicken stew) and kitfo (minced raw beef).




The Easter ceremony starts on Good Friday.  Pilgrims dressed in white fill the churches, praying, resting, and listening to the priests.  There is a spiritual solemnity to the events, as priests and deacons chant for many hours to the rhythmic jingling. In Lalibela, Fasika is celebrated in every church, and clients can move from one church to another. In their white shawls, the pilgrims move from church to church themselves, bowing a certain number of times in each one depending on the promises they made to God in exchange for answering specific prayers.

The ceremonies culminate with a mass in the early hours of Sunday morning. Clients will be invited to light candles and clap to the devotional music, looking down on the several hundred priests and deacons participating in the rituals below. It is rhythmic, mesmeric and beautiful.




The Meskal Festival is celebrated on September 27th with floral processions and the burning of torches. It commemorates the discovery of the True Cross of which Jesus was crucified, by Queen Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, in the 4th century. The festival centres on the legend that Queen Helena had a revelation in a dream. She was told to light a great bonfire and the smoke would reveal the resting place of the cross. Today the bonfire (demera) is erected in Meskel Square in Addis Ababa and is topped by daisies in the form of a cross. Priests and worshippers circle the bonfire singing before it is lit. Colourful dancing and feasting are all traditions of the festival.


Why not organise your clients to visit Ethiopia during one of the celebratory periods with help from Dinknesh Ethiopia Tours, one of Ethiopia’s premier tour operators. Providing exceptional itineraries to groups and individuals, Dinknesh assures attention to detail, experienced guides and excellent service standards. With decades of experience, organising authentic itineraries, including religious tours is their speciality. 


For more information on Dinknesh Ethiopia Tours or to find out more about potential future Fam Trips to Ethiopia, please contact


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