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  • Mary Burney

Meskal - Finding of the True Cross

Meskal has been celebrated in Ethiopia for over 1600 years. The word actually means "cross" and the feast commemorates the discovery of the cross upon which Jesus was crucified, by the Empress Helena, mother of Constantine the Great. The feast is celebrated on September 27th.

On the eve of Meskal, tall branches are tied together and yellow daisies, called Meskal flowers are placed at the top. This bundle is called "Demera" and it is ignited the next day- this symbolizes the actions of the Empress, who, when she couldn't find the Holy Sepulcher, lit incense and prayed for help. As the smoke drifted, it revealed where she should dig for the cross.

Above is the Meskal ceremony at ICS - International Community School - my alma mater.

Below, THE Meskal Celebration takes place in Meskal Square, located on a major thoroughfare in Addis Ababa. The road is closed as participants from churches far and near arrive to process.

As night falls, thousands of candles are lit!


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