Timkat is one of the most important festivals in Ethiopia and celebrates the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River. It takes place on January 19th (or 20th in leap years) and is observed with great enthusiasm, especially in the historic city of Lalibela. The festival involves colourful processions, music, dancing, and the re-enactment of the baptismal ceremony.
Meskel, meaning “The Finding of the True Cross,” is celebrated on September 27th to commemorate the discovery of the cross on which Jesus was crucified. The festival includes the lighting of a large bonfire called “Demera,” which symbolizes the bonfire lit by Queen Helena, who is believed to have found the True Cross in the 4th century.
Meskel Festival is registered with UNESCO as an element of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.