Monday, August 13, 2012

King Fasilides Bath

Emperor Fasilides built a public bath to celebrate Timkat, Epiphany for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.  Epiphany celebrates the baptism of Jesus and every year crowds gather at Fasilides bath for the Timkat celebration where the Ark of the Covenant is processed by the Tabot (priest) through the city.

Tamirat explained to us that for a few months before the celebration dams are opened around the city to allow the water to flow into the baths and fill the pools.  During the Timkat ceremony the priest blesses the water and floats a small candle on the water.  As he lets the candle go hundreds of naked children dive into the water to try to reach the candle first.  Whomever can retrieve the candle gets and extra blessing.

The bath might have been my favorite thing we saw in Gonder.  It was spectacular and I can only imagine the beauty during Timkat when it's full of water.

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