I had the pleasure to celebrate Timkat in Ethiopia on January 19, 2019 this year.
Timkat is an Ethiopian Orthodox holiday that celebrates Epiphany, which commemorates the baptism of Jesus.
My understanding of Timkat is that it is actually celebrated over nearly three days, and other small Timkat’s occur in the following weeks. My housemate, Johanna, a German medical student, and I woke up at around 6 on Saturday morning to attend the ceremony.
At that time, it was still dark, and we walked nearly 30 minutes to the Fasilides’ Bath. The closer we got to the Fasilides’ Bath, the more people we found walking to the ceremony site. At the arrival, many people had lighted candles as they attended the ceremony put on by the Ethiopian Orthodox Diocese. Ethiopian Orthodox women and men often are seen wearing white both at religious sites and in day-to-day life.
In the later part of the Timkat ceremony, Ethiopian Orthodox priest blessed the water surrounding the Fasilides’ Bath. After the water was blessed, it was then deemed to be holy water. There after many Ethiopians jumped into the water to be blessed by the holy water.