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Timkat is a religious celebration in commemoration of the baptism of Jesus Christ in Jordan River. It is celebrated every year on January 19 or 20 on leap year. During the Timakt 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 festivity is celebrated near a stream or pool early in the morning. 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. But the festival does not end there;

By noon on Timqat Day a large crowd has assembled at the ritual site, and the Holy Ark is escorted back to its church in colorful procession. The clergy, bearing robes and umbrellas of many hues, perform rollicking dances and songs; the elders march solemnly with their weapons, attended by middle-ages men singing a long-drawn, and the children run about with sticks and games. Dressed up in their finest, the women chatter excitedly on their one real day of freedom in the year. The young braves leap up and down in spirited dances, tirelessly repeating rhythmic songs. When the Holy Ark has been safely restored to its dwelling-place, everyone goes home.

It is a color full festival. Thought it is celebrated every year in all parts of Ethiopia, it is most colorful to attend the event either in Gondar or Lalibela

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