Meskel - The Finding of the True Cross - Sept 28th

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Ethiopia - Festivals in Ethiopia

Meskel (the finding of the true cross) falls on 28th September each year and has been celebrated in Ethiopia for over 1,600 years. The word Meskel means “Cross” and the feast commemorates the discovery of the cross (upon which Jesus was crucified). As the legend tells, it was found on 19 March, AD 326, by Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine The Great. The festival coincides with the mass blooming of the golden yellow ‘Meskel daisies’, a flower called ‘Adey-Abeba’ in the Amharic language. A large bonfire is lit in Meskel Square and this is repeated all over the country in churches and small neighborhood groups. Bonfires are built topped by a cross to which flowers most commonly the Meskel daisy are tied.  Priests don their full regalia and people of all ages are seen in the streets carrying fresh bunches of yellow flowers. After the bonfires are blessed, they are lit and the dancing and singing begins around them. The feasting and the celebrations continue the night and well into the next day. If you wish to be part of this great celebration the best places that I recommend are Addis Ababa, Gonder, and Axum

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