Preparations for Timkat

With one of the biggest festivals in the Ethiopian calendar being Timkat (epiphany), it was an exciting time to visit Gondar – the home of the festival. With the festival only a few days away, the city was full of life and the preparations commenced.

At the Debre Birhan Selassie church, patriotic bunting was being erected and the straw roof was getting a trim. It was funny to see the bible characters painted on the mud walls inside he church all sporting an Afro hair-do.

The Fasil Ghebbi is a walled complex housing several beautiful castles. Here groups of youths gathered in their traditional robes to practice for the Timkat festivities.

Finally we visited Fasilides’ Bath, a giant outdoor pool which is just filled with water once a year for Timkat. The festival finishes with people being baptised in the water before turning the bath into a public swimming pool. During our visit we watched hundreds of people constructing giant stands made of wood and string for people to be able to watch the Timkat festival. Sadly we read several days later that this structure had collapsed during the ceremony, killing 10 people (

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