Ethiopia, a land of towering mountains, deserts, and blue lakes, has a rich history dating back to the 4th century. Its Copts and Christianity originated from Egypt, with Queen Sheba and her son Menelik founding the Solomonic Empire. Ethiopia’s only African country to develop a written language, Geez, still used by Coptic priests and monks. Today, Ethiopia remains a world-class destination for travelers.
Ethiopian Coptic Christian traditions include the Meskel Festival in September, celebrating the discovery of the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. The ancient festival features yellow Meskel daisies on fires, priests wearing silver crosses, and the flowering of trefoil-shaped Meskel poppies, marking the end of the rainy season and the return of the sun.
Timket, or Three Kings Day, is a three-day Ethiopian festival celebrating Christ’s baptism. Priests take the Tabot, symbolizing the Ark of the Covenant, from each church to a tent near a stream. The event includes ringing bells, blowing trumpets, and burning incense. In Addis Ababa, tents are set up in Jan Meda, and a mass is celebrated at 02:00 am. At dawn, the priest extinguishes a candle by a river, and part of the congregation jumps into the river.