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Ethiopians leap into pool during holy festival

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Celebrations have been taking place in Ethiopia’s historic holy city of Gondar for the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian festival of Timket.

The celebration, which marks the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan, is considered one of the most important religious festivals in the country.

But this year things have been more subdued than usual because the Amhara region has witnessed outbursts of violence between local militias and government troops in recent months.

Festivities continued this week despite the conflict, albeit with armed police officers standing guard.

Saturday’s main event took place after pre-sunrise rituals, and hundreds of youngsters used the pool in front of one of Gondar’s fortresses to get baptised.

On Friday, choirs took to the streets to escort replicas of the Ark of Covenant – also known as tabots – that, according to tradition, contain the ‘Ten Commandments’.

Priests carried tabots into one of the fortresses in Gondar, where they will be kept until the end of the festivities.