For the first time ever this year's Ethiopian Epihany -- known as Timkat -- was celebrated in Addis Ababa on Sunday (19 January) without any members of the royal family being present.
GV PAN Crowds watching priests dancing
GV Officials in ceremonial robes
GV PAN Patriarch and other priests
GV Musicians and children dancing
GV Priest reading PAN TO pool
SV & GV Abuna blessing pool
GV Soldiers hold crowd back as Abuna sprinkles water and blesses faithful
Initials BB/1700 NC/PN/BB/1710
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Background: For the first time ever this year's Ethiopian Epihany -- known as Timkat -- was celebrated in Addis Ababa on Sunday (19 January) without any members of the royal family being present.
Last year the now-disgraced Emperor Haile Selassie took part in the celebrations.
This year thousands of worshippers gathered at the religious grounds and ceremonies involved in Epiphany -- the symbolic re-enactment of Christ's baptism in the River Jordan.
On the eve of Epiphany ... known locally as Ketera ... the Arks of the Covenant (Tabots) are taken from the Churches and stay overnight in different locations. In Addis Ababa a large number of them remain at Jan Meda throughout the night of vigil.
This year's religious celebrations at Jan Meda were conducted by Patriarch Abuna Tewoflos who blessed the water at the holy spring and then sprinkled it over the faithful.
More than a third of the country's 25 million people belong to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.