Meskel Festival, Ethiopia

Meskel Festival, Ethiopia

Meskel bonfire Ethiopia

Meskel is an Ethiopian  Christian festival celebrated every year on 27th September and one of the most colorful in the Ethiopian Orthodox calendar. Meskel is a Ge’ez language word meaning Cross and Meskel is a celebration to commemorate the finding of the true Cross of Jesus Christ. Celebrations include the lighting of a large bonfire (called Demera) in a ceremony reminiscent of Roman Empress Elena’s order to Jerusalem to light a Bonfire following a revelation in her dream. The smoke rose to the sky then returned to earth at the exact spot where true cross was buried. The event is attended by large gatherings of colorfully dressed adherents (as is common in Ethiopia) singing traditional religious hymns with accompanying bonfires as well as different entertainment shows organized by youths from the church and schools. The procession begins previous evening or on the material morning then firewood is piled into a pyramid shape and decorated with daisies then lit. Charcoal from the fire is used to mark the faithful’s foreheads with the ‘sign of the cross’. Beliefs around Meskel consider it marks the final forgiveness of sins and that a part of the true Cross was brought to Ethiopia and is kept at one of the churches. It is a beautiful event to witness while on atour in Ethiopia land of origins. Email to book your Ethiopia tour corresponding to this event and experience another unique Ethiopian moment.

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