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Sacred Time, Civic Calendar: Religious Plurality and the Centrality of Religion in Ethiopian Society

Cressida Marcus
International Journal of Ethiopian Studies
Vol. 3, No. 2 (Winter / Spring 2008), pp. 143-175
Published by: Tsehai Publishers
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27828896
Page Count: 33
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Sacred Time, Civic Calendar: Religious Plurality and the Centrality of Religion in Ethiopian Society
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Abstract

This contribution is a reflection on the special circumstances of the "dawn" of political freedom in Ethiopia. Though of course, religious freedom is circumscribed by state intervention and the constitutionality of the division between religion and state. This was ratified in the constitution simultaneously, with the much vaunted system of ethnic federalism. This mise-en-scene, has been a theatre of heated religious competition. Given fears about increased sectarianism, such tensions are placed within the context of the historic coexistence of the pluralism of religious affiliations, the current revivalism of organized religion in Ethiopia, and herein the Millennium. Considering, the dramatic backdrop of contested national politics, Millennium Celebration is perhaps unsurprisingly not a vehicle for public assembly. From the vantage point of the performance of the annual Timket processional, which is the denominational ritual of the former established Orthodox Church, embattlement with the state is being given a window of time.

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