Top 20 great traditional festivals in Africa - Meskel, Ethiopia

11-06-2021

(Worldkings.org) Christian faithfuls and tourists converge at the capital on the 27th of September every year or 28th in a leap year to commemorate the celebration of the Meskel festival.

Religious beliefs has been a vital aspect of human existence. Man has always been in search for purpose and meaning, and thus, has birthed many different religions with their unique way of festival celebrations.

For Christians all over the world, the Easter and Christmas festivals are rooted deeply in the annals of Christianity as events that shaped the destiny of man.

For Christians in Ethiopia, the Meskel festival comes a close third to these Ethiopian festivals unique to the Christian faith. From the ancient city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this timeless festival marks the discovery of the True Cross of Jesus Christ.

Christian faithfuls and tourists converge at the capital on the 27th of September every year or 28th in a leap year to commemorate the celebration of the Meskel festival.

The Meskel festival is an annual Christian national holiday celebrated by the orthodox churches in Ethiopia. This festival marks the discovery of the True Cross that Jesus was crucified on.

The word “meskel” is from the Ge’ez language that translates to “cross.” So, the festival is basically a celebration of the cross. The festival is held at the iconic Meskel square in Addis Ababa and draws out a large number of religious and civil leaders as well as public figures and Christian faithfuls.

Origin And History

The discovery of this revered relic within Christianity can be traced back to the fourth (4th) century when the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, Queen Helena received divine guidance to its location. According to legend, Queen Helena, now canonized, had a dream. In the dream,  she was told to make a bonfire from which the smoke would show her the location where the True Cross of Jesus was buried.

After doing as she was instructed and the bonfire lit, the smoke rose high up to the sky and returned to the ground, exactly where the Cross had been buried. Thus began the yearly celebration of the discovery.

The Celebration

The Meskel festival celebration begins with the burning of a large bonfire called Demera, by a large procession of Christians at the Meskel square – named in honor of the festival. This Demera-procession often begins at the eve of the event or sometimes the morning of the celebration. In the capital city of Addis Ababa, a large firewood is decorated with the Meskel flower and then set on fire in line with the history surrounding the festival.

The Meskel flowers are yellow daisies which coincidentally blooms at the time of the celebration. These daisies are usually tied to the top of branches and bundled together into the demera, which is then set ablaze by the procession of people on the eve of the festival.

The crowd encircles the bonfire singing special Meskel songs while allowing it to burn completely into ash. The Meskel Festival usually starts in the afternoon and ends after sunset amidst much merriment and prayers.

According to absoluteethiopia.com


Taro (Collect & Edit) - WORLDKINGS (Source of photos : internet)

 

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