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Ethiopian Orthodox devotees celebrate festival of Epiphany with water, colour, prayer

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For the first time in over two years, Ethiopian Orthodox devotees were able to celebrate the festival and holiday of Epiphany, known locally as “Timkat”.

The events which started on Thursday and spilled into Friday, saw the devotees converge on Lake Ziway, about 120 kilometres south of Addis Ababa, aboard canoes, motorboats and kayaks fashioned from papyrus stems, to celebrate the festival.

The Timkat festival is the Orthodox annual celebration marking the baptism of Jesus Christ which is one of the holiest days on the Ethiopian Orthodox calendar.

Describing the celebration, a media report stated that the festivities began as high priests of the church departed from monasteries situated on five of the lake’s islands, flanked by clergy draped in red, blue, white and gold, holding the tabot replicas of the tablets on which the Ten Commandments were allegedly given to Moses in the Bible.

“From the islands, the priests boarded boats laden with crosses and other icons and journeyed to the centre of the lake, where they performed rites surrounded by the faithful.”

“Devotees dressed head-to-toe in white, crammed into whatever vessels they could find, including traditional boats crafted from papyrus known as “tankwa”, the report said.

“The following day, the priests returned to the lake to bless the water and on the banks, the fervour and meditation of the evening ritual gave way to smiles of joy.”

“Devotees rushed to the shore where a priest sprayed the crowd with now-sanctified lake water using a hose.”

Some worshippers opted to just plunge their faces directly into the lake, while children splashed and played in the shallows.”

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Morocco adds national dress, Caftan, to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Heritage

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The Moroccan Department of Culture says it is committed to preserving its cultural and artistic heritage of one of its National dresses, Caftan, by promoting it internationally.

To this end the Department has concluded plans to add the Caftan to the list of the intangible cultural heritage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Speaking at the which held on Friday in Rabbat, with theme theme “Art, Tradition, and know-how of the Caftan,” the Secretary General of the Ministry of Youth, Culture, and Communication, Abdelilah Afifi, said after the inclusion of the Caftan in the list of tangible and intangible heritage of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) in 2022, all stakeholders are now focused on continuing to preserve Morocco’s cultural heritage.

“The Department of Culture is committed and is collaborating with all stakeholders, to preserve the Caftan as a national and artistic heritage,” Afifi stressed.

“Studies have been conducted around the Caftan to highlight its cultural and social dimensions and its craft and artistic characteristics.”

“The skills and knowledge associated with this element have also been documented and recorded in audiovisual format to highlight its distinctive features and promote it internationally,” he said.

The director of the Museum Mohammed VI of Modern and Contemporary Art, Abdelaziz El Idrissi, who also spoke at the event, highlighted in a presentation the characteristics of regional Caftans of Morocco, including the Caftan of Fez, Tetouan, Rabat, Marrakech, and Oujda.

“It was in the 12th century and under the Almohad dynasty that the Caftan appeared in Morocco and that it was quite different from traditional clothing worn in the East,” he explained.

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Nigerian first class traditional ruler, Ooni of Ife, makes Hollywood debut

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Nigerian first class traditional ruler, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has made an incursion into the movie world when he recently made a historic debut in a new Hollywood flick titled “Take Me Home.”

The revered King who played a unique role in the movie that succinctly befits his throne as the custodian of Yorubaland, said his role helped to further accentuate and brings royalty, honour and authority to the silver screen.

Produced by renowned produced by Yoruba historian and filmmaker Dotun Taylor, the film, “Take Me Home” centres on the quest for originality and identity.

According to Taylor, the movie “tells the story of an American girl who became possessed after wearing an African masquerade costume that was stolen during a tour in Ile-Ife.”

“In a bid to save her life, her entire family, guided by the promises of two African immigrants, embarked on a journey that would land them in hot waters.”

“As the spiritual and traditional leader of the Yoruba people now saddled with the responsibility of making supplications to God and the Òrìṣà on behalf of his people, Ooni boldly depicted the rich culture of the Yorubas and its relevance in the western world.”

The epic movie also features top Hollywood actors like Dave Sheridan, Amber Rivette, Felissa Rose, Meji Black, and Nollywood actors Abdullateef Adedimeji and Bayo Bankole (Boy Alinco) among others.

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