How Meskal celebrate in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Posted: September 22, 2016 in Ethiopia - the Secret of Africa, Tour Itineraries of Ethiopia
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In Addis Ababa Demera (the bonfire) is constructed on Meskerem 16 (September 26) and lit in late afternoon on the same day. In Addis, the capital city’s square, named after the same festival, is where the colorful celebration begin in the early afternoon of Meskerem 16. A crowd of people gather at the square, holding flaming Chibo (torches). Members of the clergy carry processional crosses and musical instruments from the Orthodox churches. They perform a religious Meskal song, whose meaning is directly related to the story of Queen Elleni (also known as Hellena); mother of King Constantine the Great of the Eastern Roman Empire. They celebrate it by playing music on instruments such as the Kabaro (the drum), Mequamia (the staff), Tsenatsil (the sistra) and so on.

At the celebration a chariot is dragged to commemorate the chariot by which Queen Elleni went to the site of the cross. As night starts to fall, attendants bearing their lighted Chibo walk around the Demera anti-clockwise direction at least three times, singing the traditional Meskal song. The Patriarch then lights the fire, and the laity in attendance wait until the central pole of the bonfire falls.


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