Festival Tours in Ethiopia

The Cultural attraction in this category comprise of tribal art, various religious and tribal rituals and related artifacts. In this category, you also find mixed tours that cover cultural places and historical places. The following sample iteniraries present the actual places of tour, means of local transport and duration required.

PTT - 42 : Ethiopian Meskel

It is celebrated on September 27 for the memorization of the finding the cross by Empress Helena, the mother of Alexander the great. On the eve bonfire are built topped by a cross to which flowers are tied, most commonly the Maskel daisy. After the bonfire is blessed, they are lit and dancing and singing begins around them Priests done their regalia. Addis Ababa, Gondar and Axum are good places to experience Meskel.The two best places to witness this festival are Addis Ababa and Lalibella.

CATERGORY: FESTIVAL + HISTORIC ROUTE OF ETHIOPIA
TRANSPORTATION: FLIGHT AND SURFACE
TOUR DURATION: 9 DAYS
DAY 1: SEPTEMBER 25, 2010, ARRIVAL ADDIS ABABA:-Arrival in Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, meet and great, get assisted and transferred to hotel. Overnight stay Hotel
DAY 02: SEPTEMBER 26, 2010, ADDIS ABABA- LALIBELLA- Meskel eve: - Transferred to the Air port. Flight to Lalibella and check in to be Hotel. In the morning you will visit half of the rock hewn churches of Lalibella. Late in the afternoon, attend Demera, which is the eve of Meskel. At the end of the tour, there will be Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house. Holding a coffee ceremony is a traditional way of welcoming a guest and giving the guest the best hospitality. It’s one of the most celebrated Ethiopian traditions, and life style- in which most Ethiopians can identify themselves with. This is s great chance to be part of this unique coffee ceremony, at its birth place. Overnight stay Hotel
DAY 03: SEPTEMBER 27, 2010, LAIBELLA- Meskel: - In the morning we will witness one of the most colorful festivals held in Lalibella, Ginbot Lideta. This ceremony is performed colorfully by priests and deacons with drums and sitars with a capacity crowd in front of the first group of rock- hewn churches. The same ceremony has been performed here on this day, centuries over centuries in co memorization of the birth our lady. Late in the afternoon finish the rest of the rock hewn churches of Lalibella. Overnight stay Hotel
DAY 04: SEPTEMBER 28, 2010, LALIBELA – GONDAR: - Transferred to the Air port and flight to Gondar. Visit compound king Fassil’s Bath Debre Birhan Selassie church Qusquam Monastery and the Fellasha (Black- Jews) village. Overnight stay Hotel
DAY 05: SEPTEMBER 29, 2010, GONDAR – SEMIEN MOUNTAINS: - Drive to Semien Mountains National Park. You will take spectacular mountain scenery, spotting endemic animals and hiking on the escarpment. Overnight stay Semien Lodge.
DAY 06: SEPTEMBER 30, 2010, SEMIEN MOUNTAINS – AXUM: - Drive to Axum alongside the Semien Mountains range with spectacular scenery. Overnight stay Hotel
DAY 07: OCTOBER 1, 2010, AXUM: - sightseeing tour in Axum that include the Stele square, Kung Kaleb’s Tomb, Queen of Sheba’s palace, Archaeological Museums and Tsion Mariam church, where the original Ark is housed. Overnight stay Hotel
DAY 08: OCTOBER 2, 2010, AXUM – YIHA – DEBRE DAMO: - Drive to DebreDamo, Visit the Yeha temple, the pre- Christian shrine known for its perfectly fine architecture and Abuna Aftse church, the site of the 6th century church, and Debre Damo monastery, dated back to Axumite time. Overnight stay Hotel
DAY 09: OCTOBER 3, 2010, AXUM-ADDIS ABABA: - Transferred to the Air port to fly back to Addis Ababa. City tour in Addis Ababa that includes that Merkato, the largest Open Air Market in Africa and souvenir Shopping. Fare well with national music and dancing. Overnight stay Hotel
PTT - 42 : Photos

PTT - 43 : Ethiopian Timket (Epiphany)

It is the most colorful festival of the year celebrated for the memorandum of Christ’s baptism. The religious ceremony is best known for it is the combination of old and New Testament, which is unique to Ethiopia now a day. The church Tabots are taken to a nearby body of water on the afternoon of the eve. During the night, the priests and faithful participate in a vigil around the Tabots. The following morning, the crowds gather around the water, which is blessed, the splashed on to them; religious vows are renewed. The Tabots is then paraded back to the church accompanied by much singing and dancing. Gondar is considered the best place to be on Timket. The two best places to witness this festival are Gondar and Lalibella.

CATERGORY: FESTIVAL + HISTORIC ROUTE OF ETHIOPIA
TRANSPORTATION: FLIGHT AND SURFACE
TOUR DURATION: 11 DAYS
DAY 1: FRIDAY, JANUARY 14, 2010, ARRIVAL ADDIS ABABA:-Arrival in Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, meet and great, get assisted and transferred to hotel. Overnight stay Hotel
DAY 2: SATURDAY, JANUARY 15, 2010, ADDIS ABABA – AXUM: - Transferred to the Air port. Flight to Axum and check in to the Hotel. Sightseeing tour in Axum that include the Stele Square, king kaleb’s Tomb, queen of Sheba’s palace, Archaeological museum and Tsion Mariam church where the original Ark is housed. Overnight stay Hotel
DAY 3: SUNDAY, JANUARY 16, 2010, AXUM – YIHA – DEBRE DAMO: - Drive to DebreDamo, Visit the Yeha temple, the pre- Christian shrine known for its perfectly fine architecture and Abuna Aftse church, the site of the 6th century church, and Debre Damo monastery, dated back to Axumite time. Overnight stay Hotel.
DAY 04: MONDAY, JANUARY 17, 2010, AXUM - LALIBELLA: - Transferred to the Air port. Flight to Lalibella and check in to be Hotel. Visit half of the rock hewn churches of Lalibella. Overnight stay Hotel.
DAY 05: TUESDAY, JANUARY 18, 2010, LALIBELLA Asheten Mariam-Timket Eve: - Mule ride to visit one of the hill top churches around Lalibella town and enjoy the scenery. In the afternoon, witness one of the most colorful and highly celebrated festivals in Ethiopia, the Timket eve ceremony, Ketera. During Ketera, priests take out the Tabots- replicas of the original Ark of the Covenant, from each church and bless the water of the pool where the next day' celebration will take place. At Lalibela all the Taboats are taken to the ‘Taboat Maderia’, accompanied by priests bearing prayer sticks and sistra, ringing bells, blowing trumpets, and swinging bronze censors from which wisps of incense smoke escape into the evening air. The Tabots are kept in their special tent in the meadow, each hoisting a proud banner depicting the church's saint in front. The dancing and chanting by the priest and the faithful continue all night long.
After having dinner and rest at the hotel, we will return to the ‘Taboat Maderia’ to attend the night celebrations. Overnight stay Hotel
DAY 06: WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 19, 2010, LALIBELLA: TIMKET FESTIVAL AT LALIBELLA: - Early in the morning, drive from your hotel to the ‘Taboat Maderia’ to join the celebration and the crowd waiting to be baptized by the holy water. Early in the morning, the water which symbolizes the Jordan River is blessed by the priest and the patriarch then dip a golden cross and extinguish a burning consecrated candle in the alter. Then he sprinkles water on the assembled congregation in commemoration of Christ's baptism in the Jordan River. Following the baptism, the Tabots start their way back to their respective churches, while feasting, singing and dancing continue all the way to the churches. Every year on Timkat, everyone-men, women, and children-appears splendid for the celebration. Dressed in the dazzling white of the traditional dress, the locals provide a dramatic contrast to the jewel colors of the ceremonial velvets and satins of the priests' robes and sequined velvet umbrellas. The elders march solemnly, accompanied by singing, leaping priest and young men. All these activities of the priest and the deacon recall the ancient rites of the Old Testament; a culture which remained unchanged centuries for centuries.
After having lunch and rest at the hotel, you will continue your journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to other St. Lalibela’s remarkable churches-their architecture and artistry must be seen to be believed. Ones we finished visiting the second group of churches we will walk to the village through the complex bewildering labyrinth of underground tunnels to the monastery were the monks and nuns live.
DAY 07: THURSDAY, JANUARY 20, 2010, LALIBELA – GONDAR: - Transferred to the Air port and flight to Gondar. Visit compound king Fassil’s Bath Debre Birhan Selassie church Qusquam Monastery and the Fellasha (Black- Jews) village. Overnight stay Hotel
DAY 08: FRIDAY, JANUARY 21, 2010, GONDAR – SEMIEN MOUNTAINS - Gondar: - Drive to Semien Mountains National Park. You will take spectacular mountain scenery, spotting endemic animals and hiking on the escarpment.
DAY 09: SATURDAY, JANUARY 22, 2010, GONDAR - BAHIR DAR: - Drive to Bahir Dar and boat excursion on Lake Tana to visit the monastery church of Kibran Gebriel, Tana Cherkos, Daga Estiphanos (closed for women), the beautifully decorated Ura Kidanmihret, Narga Selassie and Azwa Mariam that allows both genders. Under the thatched roof of the monastery, there are some distinctive colorful frescoes of religious scenes an impressive display of illuminated bibles written in “Geez” the religious language from which Amharic is derived. Overnight stay Hotel.
DAY 10: SUNDAY, JANUARY 23, 2010, BAHIR DAR: - In this morning, you will take a scenic drive of 35 km to the little town of Tiss Abay and walk for about twenty minutes to visit the famous Blue Nile Falls. The falls lunges 40 meters below and 400 meters wide, giving rise to steam clouds, smoke like fire, which is locally known as Tiss Isat meaning, “Water that smoke”. Those who may wish to descend to the base of the falls must be climb back to the other side and cross the Blue Nile in a boat in-order to back to the point of departure. In the afternoon, you will drive to Bezawit Hill, which is dominated by an ostentation split-level palace built for Emperor Haile Selassei I in 1967. The hill provides an excellent vantage point over the town of Bahir Dar, Lake Tana and the surrounding area, then drive back to Bahir Dar. Overnight stay Hotel
DAY 11: MONDAY, JANUARY 24, 2010, BAHIR DAR - ADDIS ABABA: - Transferred to the Air port and flight back to Addis Ababa. Sightseeing tour in Addis Ababa including Merkato, the biggest open air market in Africa and souvenir shopping. Fare well dinner with national music and dancing. Overnight stay Hotel
PTT - 43 : Photos

PTT - 44 : Ethiopian Fasika or Easter

Marks the end of Lent of Ethiopian orthodox Church after fasting for 55 days, in which no diary product is eaten and only vegetarian meal is taken. The celebrations include the sacred music and dance unique to the church, later accompanied by most solemn and moving ritual during the midnight mass. Best place to witness this festival is Addis Ababa.

CATERGORY: FESTIVAL + HISTORIC ROUTE OF ETHIOPIA
TRANSPORTATION: FLIGHT AND SURFACE
TOUR DURATION: 11 DAYS
DAY 1: SUNDAY, 13 APRIL: ARRIVAL ADDIS ABABA:-Arrival in Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, meet and great, get assisted and transferred to hotel. Overnight stay Hotel
DAY 02: MONDAY, 14 APRIL: ADDIS ABABA-BAHIR DAR: - Transferred to the Air port flight to Bahir Dar. In this morning, you will take a scenic drive of 35 km to the little town of Tiss Abay and walk for about twenty minutes to visit the famous Blue Nile Falls. The falls lunges 40 meters below and 400 meters wide, giving rise to steam clouds, smoke like fire, which is locally known as Tiss Isat meaning, “Water that smoke”. Those who may wish to descend to the base of the falls must be climb back to the other side and cross the Blue Nile in a boat in-order to back to the point of departure.
In the afternoon, you will drive to Bezawit Hill, which is dominated by an ostentation split-level palace built for Emperor Haile Selassie I in 1967. The hill provides an excellent vantage point over the town of Bahir Dar, Lake Tana and the surrounding area, then drive back to Bahir Dar. Overnight stay Hotel
DAY 03: TUESDAY, 14 APRIL: BAHIR DAR: -This morning you will make a full day boat cruise on this beautiful highland lake to see the monastery church of Kibran Gebriel, Tana Cherkos, Daga Estiphanos (closed for women), the beautifully decorated Ura Kidanmihret, Narga Selassie and Azwa Mariam that allows both genders. Under the thatched roof of the monastery, there are some distinctive colorful frescoes of religious scenes an impressive display of illuminated bibles written in “Geez” the religious language from which Amharic is derived. Overnight stay Hotel
DAY 04: WEDNESDAY, 15 APRIL: BAHIR DAR – GONDAR: - Transferred to the Air port and flight to Gondar. Visit compound king Fassil’s Bath Debre Birhan Selassie church Qusquam Monastery and the Fellasha (Black- Jews) village. Overnight stay Hotel
DAY 05: THURSDAY, 16 APRIL: GONDAR – SEMIEN MOUNTAINS - Gondar: - Drive to Semien Mountains National Park. You will take spectacular mountain scenery, spotting endemic animals and hiking on the escarpment. Overnight stay Hotel
DAY 06: FRIDAY, 17 APRIL: GONDAR-LALIBELLA-Ethiopian Good Friday at Lalibela: - After breakfast, transfer to Gondar Airport for the flight to Lalibela. After check in to Mount View Hotel, we will drive to the site where we find a concentration of some of Ethiopia’s most famous rock-hewn churches, mostly referred by many as “the living wonders of the world” These churches are, and they have been for at least 800 years, an active Christian shrine, the spiritual center of the country’s religious life. The monolithic churches were carved out of 2,600-sq meter natural rock terrace in the 12-century AD by king Lalibela.
Bete Medhani Alem, the largest monolithic rock-hewn church in the world, measures 37.7 ft in height, covers an area of almost 2625 square ft and has walls that are up to six feet thick. A plain building supported by 36 pillars on the inside and another 36 pillars around the outside, Bete Medhani Alem was modeled on the original St. Mary Zion Church built by King Ezana in the 4th century at Axum.
The rock-hewn churches that we will visit today include: Bete Medhani Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskel, Bete Denagil, Bete Golgotha Michael and Bete Giorgis.
In the afternoon, witness the Good Friday ceremony at Bete Mariam rock-hewn church. This is a special day for Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and it is celebrated with a great devotion and in a very ancient way. On this day, the faithful who has been fasting the whole day with out any water or food, dressed in their dazzling white cloths, folk to St. Mary’s church to attend the prayers and performance of the priest and deacons. It really creates a special feeling to witness the devotion of the faithful and the special practices made on this day remembering the suffering of Jesus Christ when he was crucified. Every performance of the priest and the deacons as well as the devotion of the people takes you centuries back. Overnight stay Hotel
DAY 07: SUTERDAY, 18 APRIL: LALIBELLA- ETHIOPIAN EASTER EVE: - In the morning you will continue your journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to other St. Lalibela’s remarkable churches-their architecture and artistry must be seen to be believed. Ones we finished visiting the second group of churches we will walk to the village through the complex bewildering labyrinth of underground tunnels to the monastery were the monks and nuns live.
The rock-hewn churches that you will visit this afternoon include: Bete Gebriel, Bete Mercorios Bete Amanuel, Bethlehem and Bete Aba Libanos.
In the afternoon, you will visit one of the most colorful annual Easter Market at Lalibela. On this day people from the surrounding countryside and town, walk for days to buy/barter different goods the open air market. Here group will have the chance to bargain for different handicrafts and traditional Ethiopian Cloths.
In the evening, you will witness one of the most important ceremonies in one of the biggest rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Bete Medhanialem. In the evening all the churches of the town will be filled with people who have been fasting for 55 days. None of them have eaten anything at least for a day and half without any water and food. They are here to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and there will be prayers and candle light ceremonies accompanied by chanting and dancing of the priest until 3:00 in the morning. It’s only after the ceremony is over every body goes home to break the fasting with the special Easter meal and the feast which has begun at the church continues all day long and the and weeks to come. Overnight stay Hotel
DAY 08: SUNDAY, 19 APRIL, EASTER IN LALIBELLA:- In the morning, mule ride, and walk to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery, this is very famous for its 12-century monastery church and beautiful view at 10,298 ft above sea level. We will walk/mule ride through dramatic highland scenery and which eventually ends in a beautiful serene agricultural hamlet.
The rest of the day be at leisure. In the evening, there will be special Easter Ethiopian Night with Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house. Those who can’t face their day without a cup of coffee may be surprised to know that in its birthplace in Ethiopia’s Kaffa region-from which it gets its name- the berries were originally only eaten, never roasted and ground for a drink. Only since the 13th century, coffee has been made a hot drink. Holding a coffee ceremony is a traditional Ethiopian way of welcoming a guest and giving the guest the best hospitality. It is probably one of the most celebrated Ethiopian traditions, and a lifestyle - in which most Ethiopians can identify themselves with. Overnight stay Hotel
DAY 09: SUNDAY, 20 APRIL: ADDIS ABABA – AXUM: - Transferred to the Air port. Flight to Axum and check in to the Hotel. Sightseeing tour in Axum that include the Stele Square, king kaleb’s Tomb, queen of Sheba’s palace, Archaeological museum and Tsion Mariam church where the original Ark is housed. Overnight stay Hotel
DAY 10: TUESDAY, 21 APRIL: AXUM – YIHA – DEBRE DAMO: - Drive to DebreDamo, Visit the Yeha temple, the pre- Christian shrine known for its perfectly fine architecture and Abuna Aftse church, the site of the 6th century church, and Debre Damo monastery, dated back to Axumite time. Overnight stay Hotel
DAY 11: WEDNESDAY, 22 APRIL: AXUM-ADDIS ABABA: - Transferred to the Air port to fly back to Addis Ababa. City tour in Addis Ababa that includes that Merkato, the largest Open Air Market in Africa and souvenir Shopping. Fare well with national music and dancing. Overnight stay Hotel
PTT - 44 : Photos