Celebrating meskel with Emma Zinash

One of the most significant celebrations in Ethiopia is the Meskel festival. It is a cultural event that is highly recommended for international visitors and is commemorated with a massive bonfire. Ethiopia uses a different calendar than the rest of the world, and its New Year is celebrated on September 11 (or September 12 in leap years) every year. Later in the month, though, is when the Ethiopian religious year’s largest celebration takes place.
Ethiopians celebrate the True Cross on September 27 or 28 (depending on the year) in Meskel Square in Addis Abeba. The majority of foreign visitors who want to go to the traditional festival must first obtain an Ethiopian visa before going to Meskel in Ethiopia. One reason for this festival’s prominence in the church’s calendar is that it is thought that a piece of the real Cross was transported from Egypt to Ethiopia. It is rumored that it is kept at Amba Geshen, which has a cross-shaped layout itself. The discovery of the True Cross is traditionally thought to have occurred in March, according to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, but Meskel was moved to September to avoid holding a festival during Lent and because the church in Jerusalem that honors the True Cross was dedicated in September. As was the case in Israel, the most ancient significance of these feasts was undoubtedly seasonal: the month of Maskaram signified the end of the rainy season, the start of work, and the resumption of communications.

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