Celebrities dance for the holiday

The central plateau, known as the highlands, is surrounded on three sides by desert with a significantly lower elevation. The plateau is between six thousand and ten thousand feet above sea level, with the highest peak being Ras Deshan, the fourth-tallest mountain in Africa. Addis Ababa is the third-highest capital city in the world.

A key component of Timkat is the Ark of the Covenant, a golden chest made of wood that houses two stone tablets that record the Ten Commandments. Churches in Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity revere both the tabots, or replicas of the tablets, as well as this sacred artifact. Priests guard these priceless copies all year long, and they are displayed during Timkat. Getting close to the tabot is one of the pilgrims’ goals because even just being near it brings you closer to God. Priests carry the tabots down to the waterfront during the Timkat ceremony while wearing them on their heads. However, the tabots are always covered in an elaborate fabric because it is believed that they are too sacred for mere mortals to even look at. During Timkat, thousands of pilgrims follow the priests in a procession while singing, clapping, drumming, and dancing. The priests are covered by colorful, embroidered umbrellas and dressed in ceremonial robes.
Location and Geography. Ethiopia is the tenth largest country in Africa, covering 439,580 square miles (1,138,512 square kilometers) and is the major constituent of the landmass known as the Horn of Africa. It is bordered on the north and northeast by Eritrea, on the east by Djibouti and Somalia, on the south by Kenya, and on the west and southwest by Sudan.

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