Ethiopia's biggest festival,Timket, is an annual three day festival with the main event falling on the 19th of January. The festival celebrates with great devotion, the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan river. Gondar, Ethiopia. 19/01/2011
Ethiopians believe that the Arc of the Covenant rests in Axum, in the countries north. Once a year every church in the country, which all hold replicas of the sacred arc, remove these replicas for a journey to the nearest body of water. Once there pilgrims gather as the priests begin a ritual blessing. Once finished pilgrims jump into the water in massive numbers. This is the Timket Festival, Ethiopia.
These photos were taken over three days in the Northern town of Gondar. Gondar is considered the best place to view the event, though the festivities spread across the country.
On the 18th of January there is much ceremony as the replica arks, accompanied by local priests, make their way to the Fasilada's bath, a body of water surrounding a Church. The moat is only filled once a year (taking over a month).
Priests and pilgrims both stay overnight, filling the air with soft chanting and devotions. The early morning brings the beginning of the blessing, which takes over three hours.
Once finished thousands of pilgrims are free to jump into the water. It's an amazing display of raw energy and devotion.
Ethiopia's biggest festival,Timket, is an annual three day festival with the main event falling on the 19th of January. The festival celebrates with great devotion, the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan river. This energy and devotion led to massive crowd surges and it was only a large security presence that stopped near certain deaths at the front of the jam. People scrambled for any vantage point available, including some very precarious perches up trees around the complex.
As this phase winds up the Arcs are taken back to their local churches,again to much fanfare, where they rest for another year.