Unique Ceremonies

There are many great national and local holidays and celebrations throughout the year in Ethiopia. Every one of the parish churches and the monasteries of the Orthodox Tewahido Church all have at least one minor monthly and one major annual festival. These may share origins with Christian, Muslim and tribal festivals elsewhere in the world, but have indigenous characteristics unique to Ethiopia. If you can, try to plan your trip around one of the following spectacular festivals:

Genna (Ethiopian Christmas) in Lalibela

Observed two weeks after European Christmas on January 7 with a colorful midnight mass on January 6.

Timket (Epiphany)

Celebrated on the 18th to 19th of January annually or the 20th January during a leap year. This involves a colorful procession of priests and followers singing and dancing. They carry the Tabots (replicas of the Holy Ark of the Covenant that sanctifies and sits on the altar of every Ethiopian Orthodox Church inside the Holy of Holies) from their sanctuaries amongst the celebrants. Observed on January 19, Timket is the most popular national holiday among Ethiopian Christians. The best venues for Timket are Addis Ababa, Gondar and Lalibela.

Meskel (Finding the true cross)

The Feast of the Finding of the Holy Cross, Meskel, is celebrated by Ethiopian Christians throughout the country every year on September 26/27, in honor of the Finding of the True Cross of Christ.

Fasika (Easter)

The Lenten fasting for fifty-five days before feasting on Fassika is the most popular prayer season in the Orthodox Tewahido Church. The attractions of this festival are the Good Friday service and the lively midnight mass on the eve, which adds to the exuberance of the holiday. The best venues for Fassika are Addis Ababa and Lalibela.
Ashenda

Ashenda or Shadey

is a festival celebrated in August (G.C.) in the Amhara and Tigray regions of Ethiopia, and in neighboring Eritrea.

Erecha

Erecha is celebrated in many parts of Ethiopia and the most popular one takes place at Bishoftu south-east of Addis Ababa and by the shores of Lake Hora.

ADDIS TIMKET EVE /KETERA/

This day you will visit the Fistula Hospital, came into being back in 1959 by an Australian couple. Patients of this hospital are normally those coming from rural and remote areas, and the disease is the result effect of early marriage, the young girls are not big enough to give birth. Then proceed to visit the New Community Center. In the afternoon, attain the eve celebration of Timket known as ‘Ketera’; the priests remove the ark from each church to the water pool where the next day’s celebration will take place.

ADDIS EPIPHANY / TIMKAT/

Early in the morning, attend the colorful Timkat celebration at Jane Meda and This involves a colorful procession of priests and followers singing and dancing. They carry the Tabots (replicas of the Holy Ark of the Covenant that sanctifies and sits on the altar of every Ethiopia Orthodox Churches inside the Holy of Holies) from their sanctuaries overnight. Celebrated on Epiphany Timkat is the most popular national holiday among Ethiopian Christians.

TIMKAT IN LALIBELA

FLY to LALIBELA- KETERA/ TIMKET EVE AT LALIBELA (B-L-D)

After breakfast at your hotel, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Lalibela. Be met and transferred to the Hotel.In the afternoon, you will attend the Timket eve ceremony called, Ketera. During Ketera, the priests take out the

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EVE OF TIMKET/ KETERA
In the afternoon, you will attend the Timket eve ceremony called, Ketera. During Ketera, the priests take out the Tabots- replicas of the original Ark of the Covenant, from each church. After the ceremonies drive to hotel.

ATTEND TIMKAT FESTIVAL (EPIPHANY) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRfPzVTxOC4

This day you will have a chance to attend the Timket Festival. This involves a colorful procession of priests and followers singing and dancing. They carry the Tabots (replicas of the Holy Ark of the Covenant that sanctifies and sits on the altar of every Ethiopia Orthodox Churches inside the Holy of Holies) from their sanctuaries overnight. Celebrated on Epiphany January 19- Timkat is the most popular national holiday among Ethiopian Christians.

MESKAL - EXCURSION TO ASHETON MARIAM
On this day at the morning you will celebrate Meskel in Lalibela later, you will have an excursion to Ashton Mariam trek (one hour mule or horse ride) to the 13th C. Rock hewn monastery of Ashton Mariam. It is about 8 kms from Lalibela. The road is very steeply looked like twisted rope hugged on the wall but, very beautiful scenery with a rewarding experience. After visiting trek back to Lalibela. After noon, you will visit of the rest of the rock hewn churches of Lalibela i.e. Bete Amanuel, Bete Markorios, Bete Aba Libanos, and Bete Gebriel-Rufae.

Half day sightseeing and attend Meskel celebration in Addis.

On this day morning you will visit the National Museum that houses interesting archeological featuring which includes “Lucy”, the 3.2-million-year-old hominid skeleton considered the missing link in the evolutionary study of mankind and St. Gorge church at Paisa. In the afternoon you will attend the Meskel celebration at Meskel square.

Lalibela is the jewel in the crown of Ethiopia, the home of the most famous churches and the scene of so many major religious ceremonies. Also known, as 'Africa's Petra', Lalibela and its rock-hewn Churches are arguably Ethiopia's top most attractions. Visit the rock-hewn Churches. These Churches include Bete Medhane Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete MEskal, Bete Danaghel, Bete Golgotha & Bete Mikael, and Bete Giorgis.

Afternoon, you will visit the rest of the rock hewn churches of Lalibela i.e. Bete Amanuel, Bete Markorios, Bete Aba Libanos, and Bete Gebriel-Rufael. In the evening, you will attend the Christmas Eve ceremony with the pilgrims to be held at Bete Mariam church. The chanting by the “deacons” and the priests continue throughout the night and around while the pilgrims clap and ululate to the drum beat. At mid-night, there will be a candle light ceremony to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.

At sunrise, the church more than 100 priests climbed the rocky steps to the rim of the pit overlooking the church and formed a line that snaked to the very edge of the drop. They wore white turbans, carried golden scarves and had red sashes stitched into the hems of their white robes. Several deacons began beating large drums, and the priests began to sway in unison, rattling their sitars, then crouching in a wavy line to the beat and rising again—King David's dance, the last of the Christmas ceremonies.

In the courtyard below, two dozen priests formed a tight circle with two drummers in the center and began chanting a hymn to the priests above, who responded in kind. According to the priest “The courtyard priests represent the world's people, and the priests high above represent the angels,” "Their singing is a symbol of the unity between heaven and earth." On they went for two hours, their movements and voices swelling in intensity. Many of those high above slipped into ecstatic trances, closing their eyes as they swayed.

This day you will have an excursion to Ashton Mariam. After having breakfast trek (one hour mule or horse ride) to the 13th C. rock hewn monastery of Ashton Mariam. It is about 8 kms from Lalibela. The road is very steeply looked like twisted rope hugged on the wall but, very beautiful scenery with a rewarding experience. After visiting trek back to Lalibela.

Begin your sightseeing of Addis with the National Museum that houses the 3.4 million years old fossils of ‘Lucy’ among other interesting archeological findings. Proceed and visit the Trinity Cathedral built in 1941, with significant historical back ground and elaborate stained glass windows. To wrap up, drive through Mercato the largest open-air market in Africa. This evening, you will attend the Ethiopian Christmas Eve Ceremony with the pilgrims. The dancing by the deacons and the priests continue throughout the night and around as the pilgrims clap to the drum beat. At mid-night, there will be a candle light ceremony to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ

ATTENDING THE HOLYDAY (CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY)

In the morning, you will drive to one of the well-known Church in Addis to witness the final ceremony of Ethiopian Christmas. This day, as it has been going on centuries over centuries the priest will be lined up with their drums and some more on the bottom representing the shepherds and the angels announcing the birth of Christ.

LALIBELA (GOOD FRIDAY) be transferred to the airport for flight to Lalibela. Lalibela, also known as ‘Africa’s Petra,’ is the jewel in the crown of Ethiopia, the home of the most famous churches and the scene of so many major religious ceremonies. Visit of the magnificent rock hewn Churches of Lalibela, which are called the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” These churches were hewn out of solid rock between 800 - 1200 AD and are still active worship places, you will also find the chance to see Good Friday celebration at Lalibela.

EXCURSION NAKUTO LEAB (LATE EVENING ATTEND CHURCH CEREMONY).

This day take an excursion to visit Nakuto Le'abe monastery. King Nakuto abdicated his throne in 1270 AD and went to a cave to lead a hermit's life. This cave has ever since became a monastery and has dramatic setting. Later near mid night attend an ester ceremony at the church

Ashenda or Shadey is a festival celebrated starting from August 23 in the Ethiopian regions of Tigray and Northern Amhara. Ashenda marks the end of a two-week-long fast when adherents of the gather to honor the Virgin Mary. The name of the festival Ashenda comes from the name of a tall grass that the girls make in to a skirt and wear it around their waist as a decoration like seen in the picture. The young women and girls dress the best traditional dresses called tilfi which is a cotton dress decorated with amazing embroidery from the neck to toe in front of the dress. The girls also adorned themselves with array of beautiful jewelers

It is a holiday celebrated by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church followers every august 16 in Ethiopian calendar to commemorate the resurrection of Saint Mary. It is celebrated on the end of one of the most important fasting of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church the “filseta tsom” it lasted for 16 days .This holiday have both religious and cultural importance. Ashenda is a unique Tigrain and north Amharan traditional. This event is mostly for girls and young women, which they await very eagerly every year. The name of the festival "Ashenda" comes from the name of a tall grass that the girls make in to a skirt and ware it around their waist as a decoration. Ashenda is a unique northern traditional festival that young ladies and girls enjoy music and dance.

Erecha is celebrated in many parts of Ethiopia and the most popular one takes place at Bishoftu (Debre Zeit) town 44km south-east of Addis Ababa and by the shores of Lake Hora. Jimma town is another place of Erecha. This ritual is also an occasion where Oromo people of Christian, Muslim and Animist faith groups come together to participate in the ceremony

You will begin your city tour of Addis with a drive up to mount Entoto. Descending down to Addis, proceed to the Ethnographic Museum within the compound of Addis Ababa University was the palace of Emperor Haile Selassie between 1930-1935 and 1941-1955 and now serves as a research Centre for the Institute of Ethiopia Studies and for the Ethnographical Museum. We find a complete collection of traditional musical instruments, Ethiopian Orthodox church crosses, stamps, traditional clothes of different tribes from throughout the country, is an ideal place to start learning about Ethiopia’s rich ethnic diversity. And visit the bedroom of the late Emperor Haile- Selassie. The National Museum also called the Archeological Museum that houses interesting archeological featuring which includes "Lucy," the 3.2-million-year-old hominid skeleton considered the missing link in the evolutionary study of mankind. Later you will be transferred to your staying place. End of our service.

Today you will visit Abebech Gobena orphanage, one of Ethiopia’s oldest orphanages founded by Dr. Abebech Gobena, a prominent humanitarian in Ethiopia. This orphanage originated aiming to fulfilling the needs of vulnerable and orphaned children to equip them with skills, knowledge and assertiveness in the society. So, to bring about substantial change in their lives, Abebech Gobena has no children of her own but she has a family of about 450,000 people. She has been called the Mother Teresa of Africa. Proceed to Fistula Hospital comprehensive care for women who suffer from incontinence, physical impairment, shame and marginalization as a result of an obstetric fistula. The hospital was created by the Australian obstetrician and gynecologists Catherine Hamlin and her husband Reginald Hamlin to care for women with childbirth injuries and has been in operation since 1974. After lunch visit Desta Mender (Joy Village in Amharic) was built on land donated by the Ethiopian Government about 10 kilometers from the hospital. The village's 10 houses have 45 women with chronic long-term injuries which prevent them from returning home. Later you will be transferred to your staying place. End of our service.

Visit Meyazia 27 Square (Arat Kilo) monument at the heart of the Square commemorates the victory over the Italian invaders and the struggle that preceded it. Proceed to Yekatit 12 Martyrs Square (Sidist Kilo), the monument is in the form of a white obelisk with black bas reliefs of scenes Imperial funeral accorded to the remains of the victims in the presence of the Emperor following the liberation around it. A Lion of Judah also decorates the face of the obelisk. Then visit golden colored statue of the Lion of Judah in its complete glory stands on a black granite pedestal which is decorated with relief portraits of Emperors Menelik II and Haile Selassie I, and Empress Zewditu, as well as Ras Makonnen. After Lunch break visit Abune Petros Square with its imposing Statue. Abune Peteros, is the Ethiopian Orthodox Bishop of Wello who was executed by the Italians at the edge of this very square. Finally drive to Tewodros Square, named after emperor Tewodros II. He reigned in Ethiopia in the 19th century. There is an ancient cannon in the middle of the square that stands there as a monument to this emperor, as he wanted to build an armaments industry in the country. This cannon was made by Europeans in Ethiopia and was called Sebastopol. The original cannon lies somewhere in Ethiopia and this one, a replica of it, is made from bronze. Later you will be transferred to your staying place. End of our service.

You will start your city tour visiting St. George Interior Decoration and Art Gallery. Which was opened in 1991 and one of the foremost galleries in Ethiopia, Where you will witness Ethiopian art and culture. After lunch drive to the compound of Economic commission for Africa where you will visit monumental stained glass window in the ECA by world laureate artist Afewerk Tekle. Then proceed to Merkato, the largest open air Market in Africa offering an array of colors, aromas, customs, produce and jewelry. Finally you go to Biogenic Spa and have a massage of your choice or Bath for relaxation, easing tired muscles, helping the cares and worries of the day drift away, and increases circulation and metabolism of the body. Later you will be transferred to your staying place. End of our service.

You will start your city tour visiting the square stone church of Bata Maryam which is built in the Axumite style with colonnaded arches and a mausoleum enclosing the tombs of Menelik II and his wife. Later the Holy-Trinity Cathedral, built after the return of the emperor from exile in 1941, is known for its modern architecture, biblical paintings, and statues commemorating the patriots who died defending the country during Italy's invasion. Hailie Selassie's remains were later moved from Menelik II Mausoleum to this church in 2000 where he rests in a granite tomb. In the afternoon visit St. George`s Cathedral (Giorgis Cathedral) lies at the north end of Churchill Road.

Built in 1896 in the traditional octagonal shape to commemorate Ethiopia's victory over the Italians at the Battle of Adwa, the Cathedral houses the work of Afewerk Tekle, the renowned Ethiopian artist responsible for the stained glass windows of the Africa Hall and also houses a small museum in the compound. End of our service. Later you will be transferred to your staying place. End of our service.

A coffee ceremony is a ritualized form of making and drinking coffee. The coffee ceremony is one of the most recognizable parts of Ethiopian culture Coffee is offered when visiting friends, during festivities, or as a daily staple of life.

INJERA

Traditional Ethiopian food is famous for hot spicy food served on top of a soft pancake-like bread called injera. True injera is made from a very nutritious grain called teff, but whole wheat and white flours work too.

About us

Welcome to Ethiopia- an ancient wonderland with rich cultural traditions, architectural remains, natural beauty and enormously hospitable people. Ethiopia has a history of over 3,000 years, which has been preserved in a remarkable manner. Only in Ethiopia will you find yourself dramatically transported back in time through the participation in sacred rituals of an archaic faith. The rock-hew churches of Lalibela and the obelisks of Axum are known worldwide for their architectural beauty and mesmerizing history, giving you a glimpse of one of the greatest empire in history

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