26 September 2012
Photo of the Demera/bonfire being built in Addis Abeba today (26 September 2012) courtesy of EthioTube
Meskal 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 September is the eve of Meskal, a feast commemorating the Finding of the True Cross, as an Ethiopian writer Ermias.
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. The direction that the bonfire falls (either North or South, East or West) is given political meaning. Most say if it falls to the North pole it is traditionally believed to bring a positive new year. There are also various political interpretations given after seeing the direction that the bonfire falls to.
Which direction will this year’s Demera fall to in the absence of the main executioner of the event, the Pope of the Orthodox Church Abune Paulos who died last month?