Small Town Timkat

PhotographerFrance Leclerc
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

Ethiopia’s population is nearly 100 million and over 40% of Ethiopians identify themselves as Christian Orthodox. So the celebration of Timkat (Epiphany) is quite an “affair” as it is one of the most important holidays for the Ethiopian Orthodox faithful. In every town, including Yirgalem, a small town in Southern Ethiopia, a replica of the Ark of Covenant, (the Tabot) is taken out of the altar where it sits all year and is carried on top of a priest’s head during a long procession, which ends at a nearby body of water. The next morning at dawn, after a night of prayers, the water is blessed in the presence of the Tabot. The blessed water is then sprinkled on the devotees, symbolically renewing their baptismal vows.