The Celebration of Meskel is in Commemoration of the finding of the true Cross by Queen Helena, Mother of Constantine the Great of Rome
The Celebration of Meskel is in Commemoration of the finding of the true Cross by Queen Helena, Mother of Constantine the Great of Rome. It is celebrated on the 7th of September with feasts, dancing & by lighting massive bonfires made with a long cross in the middle known as “Damera”.
A piece of the true cross which Jesus Christ was crucified on can be found in Gishen Mariam monastery.
The tradition of preparing a cross and bonfire is first carried out by individual families or close neighbors who create their own group and light the bonfire prior to the large community ceremony. During the eve groups of young men go from house to house singing and dancing and asking for small gifts. The songs usually wish for a good harvest season and a year of health and Prosperity.
Meskel square is where the main feast, dancing & lighting a massive bonfire take place after a religious procession and prayer. Major cities in Ethiopia all have a colorful celebration of this important event.