UNESCO Message on Ethiopian Timkat

UNESCO joined Ethiopia in celebrating Timkat- the colorful ‘Ethiopian Epiphany’, celebrated annually on 19 January to commemorate the baptism of Jesus Christ in the River of Jordan. Timkat is among the most important Intangible Cultural Heritages of the people of Ethiopia inscribed on the Representative List of Humanity by UNESCO in December 2019.

UNESCO places high value on intangible and tangible cultural and natural heritages inscribed on Representative List of Humanity and the World Heritage List and supports the efforts to safeguard the heritage properties and pass on to the future generations.. It is for this reason that during this year’s Timkat, on behalf of UNESCO, The Director and Representative to Ethiopia, Yumiko Yokozeki (PhD) joined the celebration at Jan Meda - Addis Ababa, and delivered the following message.



On behalf of UNESCO and myself, it is a true honor and pleasure for me to be here today for this colorful celebration of the ‘Ethiopian Epiphany’, celebrated to commemorate the baptism of Jesus Christ; and among most important Intangible Cultural Heritages of the people of Ethiopia inscribed on the Representative List of Humanity by UNESCO in December 2019.

I wish to express my greetings to all holy-fathers, ambassadors, ministers, eminent personalities, and the public at large who have come to participate in this beautiful celebration. Your presence in such large numbers proves the importance you give to the safeguarding of your cultural heritages. This is genuinely gratifying.

During my stay, I learned that the wealth of the Ethiopia’s cultural heritage is immense. The country is remarkably rich in its linguistic and cultural diversity, abundant tangible and intangible heritages, which include among others the nine world heritage sites, 4 Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, 4 biosphere reserves and 12 literary works inscribed on Memory of the World.

Epiphany (Timket) bears a witness to humanity’s great diversity and unity. The inscriptions will improve understanding and respect for the property and the communities that keep it alive and transmit to the future generations. We must aim to achieve the same goal, that is, a nation and a world of solidarity whose wealth and strength are at the very heart of its diversity.

I am convinced that the intangible heritages, such as Timket has enormous potential that we must learn to harness and sustain. They are tools for social cohesion and dialogue. They highlighted the importance of safeguarding practices and expressions that are vital for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly for the protection of environment, empowerment of women, income-generating activities and above all fostering peace building and conflict resolution.

I wish to commend the great efforts done by the Ethiopian authorities, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Addis Ababa City Municipality and the Ministry of Tourism for the excellent organization of this colorful ceremony.

I would like to assure you that UNESCO is ready to strengthen further its commitment and cooperation with the Government and people of Ethiopia in their efforts to protect and safeguard the country’s rich cultural and natural heritages. We are all partners in this vast undertaking, which consists preserving and inspiring the diversity that we all, together, constitute.

Thank You Very Much!!