The festival of Timket is celebrated on January 19th (20th in a leap year) and it commemorates the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist at River Jordan.
In Ketera, the Tabot (replica of the Ark of the Covenant) is taken out of each church and borne aloft by high priests to the nearest river, lake or pond where the communal baptism is to take place the next day.
The procession is attended by chanting and dancing crowds in dazzling white traditional dress, which contrasts with the colours of the ceremonial vestments and sequined velvet umbrellas of the priests.
The Tabots stay overnight near the water and ceremonies continue overnight.
Timket celebration starts the next morning, when the ceremony begins with pre-sunrise rituals, which include the Kidane (Morning Prayer) and the Kidasie (the Divine Liturgy).
And then follows the blessing and sprinkling of blessed water on the assembled congregation in commemoration of Christ’s baptism.
It takes the better part of the day before the procession breaks up to return the Tabots to the churches in the afternoon.
By afternoon, all the Tabots are returned to their churches in a procession with the priests and young people animated and leaping like King David in the Bible.
Both the Ketera and Timket ceremonies particularly are so colorful that they are attended by several tourists from around the world.