Meskel, the commemoration feast of the finding of the True Holy Cross of Christ, was inscribed in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2013.
Christian’s faithfuls and tourists converge at the capital of Ethiopia on 27th of September or 28th in a leap year to commemorate the celebration of the Meskel festival. The celebrations begin with the building of the Damera bonfire at Maskel Square in Addis Ababa — a conical pyre of poles surrounded by bundles of branches and torches decorated with green grass.
The word actually means “Cross” and the feast commemorates the discovery of the true cross by the Empress Helena, (the mother of Constantine the great), on which Jesus Christ was crucified. The original event took place on 19 March, A.D. 326, but the feast is now celebrated on 28th September.
It also signifies the physical presence of the true Cross at the remote mountain monastery of Gishen Mariam located in the Wello region. During this time of year, vast bonfires are lit countrywide the night before the celebration, and on the day itself everyone dances and feasts. This festival also coincides with the mass blooming of the golden yellow meskel daisies called Adey Abeba in Amharic. People of all ages are seen in the streets carrying fresh bunches of these yellow flowers.