We didn’t venture out on this huge Ethiopian holiday, but you’re always guaranteed that the parades won’t be too far away. All the churches parade their replicas of the ark of the covenant out to various open fields for the day of Timket (celebrating John’s baptism of Jesus). The next day they parade them back to their churches.
Here are the main priests, somewhere in their midst (I wasn’t close enough to get a picture) there are a couple carrying the replica on their heads.
These were accompanying priests.
The parade is a long ordeal. Every parade has several churches, every church has a choir, every choir has a couple songs, every song takes several minutes. The parade moves along one section at a time, each choir performing their songs with marching patterns and drums for each section of crowd. Then they move 100m up the road, stop, and perform again.
It’s difficult to see this also, but behind this blanket or curtain there is a smoking pot of incense that proceeds the ark of the covenant.
Finally, the crowds (I think church members) bring up the rear.
It’s an enjoyable time, the people are all very friendly and always excited that foreigners are in their midst enjoying their holidays. It always surprises them when we can speak their language! These are 2 doctor friends speaking Oromo with some ladies. Vivian is in the left of the picture. The building in the background is our SIM office building.