Meskel (the finding of the true cross)

Maskel is said to be in memory of the finding of the true cross by Empress Eleni of Ethiopia.

The eve of Meskel (26th of September) is called Demera. A huge bonfire is built, topped with a cross to which flowers are tied. The patriarch of the Orthodox Church leads the lightening ceremony. After the bonfire is blessed dancing and singing begins around it and an inner feeling of brightness spreads through all those around it.

The day after Demera is Meskel. The festival coincidences with the mass blooming of yellow Meskel daisies, which are a symbol of a new beginning after the rainy season. In every major city the ceremony is celebrated colorfully, however the best place to celebrate Meskel is the capital Addis Ababa.