The Celebration of ‘Meskel’ Eve – Finding of the True Cross

Today we went to Meskel square with Martin. We celebrate Meskel Eve in Maskal square. we had an amazing time. Let me explain a little about Meskel.

Maskal is an ancient seasonal rite, which has become an integral part of the Ethiopian Christian Calendar. This national holiday has been celebrated throughout Ethiopia for centuries and is one of the most important annual festivals. The 26th of September is the eve of Maskal, a feast commemorating the Finding of the True Cross.

In the middle of the afternoon the celebration starts. Many people are seen wearing there brilliant white Ethiopian costumes. The occasion takes place at the Maskal square in Awassa and others regions, near the church of Saint Estifanos. A color procession of priests, deacons, choir boys and girls of Sunday school. They are wearing embroidered robes and walks around a huge pyre, burning ceremonial crosses and wooden torches decorated with olive leaves. As the sun begins to set, the torch-bearers moves forward in union to put fire on the slender pyramid-shaped structure. The pyramid is topped with a cross made from the yellow flowers known as Maskal daisies which are placed on the tallest central pole.

The crowd of spectators are kept at the bay while visitors are allowed to enter the inner circle in accordance to the Ethiopian age-old tradition of hostility. The casually dressed tourists form an incongruous contrast as they brandish there cameras, while around them the procession of proud clergy clad in dazzling ceremonial robes chant as they perform this ancient rite.

The origins of the celebration are expressed in the Ethiopian manuscript of parchment. It is said to date back to the discovery of the Byzantine Queen of Helena of the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. According to the manuscript, in the 20th year of the reign of her son Constantine, she set off for Jerusalem in search of the ˜life giving cross, which she eventually found after many trials and tribulations. She is said to have forced the Jews to reveal the whereabouts of this Honorable Cross, which allegedly lay under the hill of Golgotha, formed from sweepings, ashes and offal piled on the grave of Jesus Christ. If you want any more information you can search the internet at “Cross holiday in Ethiopia”.

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