Celebrating Timket

It has been quite the week here. This week is the celebration of Timket which is the largest Orthodox holiday. The celebrations start the night before with the church members and the priests walking with the Ark of the Covenant to a central location. They sleep in tents that night and in the morning are sprinkled with water to symbolize the baptism of Jesus. That afternoon they parade back to the church. I hope I have those facts correct. All I know is that there were lots of people and lots of singing and dancing both coming and going.

My roommate and I ventured out to see what went down for Timket and got even more than I think we bargained for, which was easy considering we didn’t know what to expect. I have put together a little video capturing some of our favorites from the days. All but the very end of the video is showing them as they go out to camp for the night on day 1. Timket day 2 is at the end and shows them coming down the main road near our house. Basically the same activities happened coming and going, but we got better shots on day 1.

While we were walking to Timket day 1, we were insulted twice. First, by a little kid that yelled out “China” to us as we passed by. There are lots of Chinese here and they really aren’t liked because they just come here to invest, so being called “China” was not only funny to us, but also kind of an insult. We decided later that most children probably don’t differentiate between “firinge” (foreigner/white person) and “China” although we are very aware of the difference. Then, coming back from Timket day 1, a little kid saw us, turned up his nose, curled his upper lip, and muttered “firinge.” We get called that a lot, but not usually with such disdain. It hurt our pride a little, but my roommate just responded with “Hey _______ (the name for the native people here)” and the mother of the little boy laughed. I guess it would be equivalent to someone shouting “Mexican” to a Mexican person and them replying with “Hey American.” Not really an insult, just pointing out the obvious I guess.

Some commentary for the video (see link below): We don’t know what all the men dancing with sticks is about – we think they are the rebel church members who couldn’t be in the real choir 🙂 It came across as a little bit mobbish, but I really don’t think it was. I think our favorite part was the choir. They had a children’s choir and then an adult choir – both appeared to be in nurse’s uniforms – we also don’t know what that was about. Following the choir were the priests and the Ark of the Covenant (sheltered by the velvety umbrellas). After that, came some more common folk singing and dancing. It really was quite the celebration. I made a friend named Beza while we were waiting for the parade on Day 2 and I included her in the video as well.

***Click HERE to go to YouTube and watch the video***

I also included some of my favorite pictures from the day. You can see the traditional Holiday dress on the little boy as well as the old woman. Also, just a really cute little girl enjoying her sugar cane!

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© 2020 by Katie Murray