The Meskel Festival.

Each year in the end of September the Ethiopian church celebrates the Meskel Festival. It commemorates the disovery of the cross Jesus was crucified on. It was Queen Helena, Emperor Constantin’s mother who found it in 326AD in Jerusalem, but it got lost again. We watched the festivities in both Addis Abeba and the next day in a much smaller town named Mekelle.

The celebration in Addis Abeba was huge with tousands and thousands of participants. Each congregation had identical clothes and used drums with their songs. The songs were very rythmic and repetitive. They actually grew on me. I felt like clapping and moving.

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All the processions ended up in a big square where the archbishop, his entourage and other VIPs were waiting on a tribune.

For a couple of hours the people paraded past the tribune doing their well-rehearsed moves.

The square was crowded with priests, deacons and I don’t know what and I just mingled with them, smiled, took pictures and showed them the results and got only big smiles in return. May be that led to me being interviewed by the national television, but I  wason the air several times afterwards. Here are some pictures of people I met and smiled to.

The archbishop ended the seremoni by putting fire to the bonfire. Appearantly the smoke should show the direction to the cross, but I don’t think they will find it, so  the Meskel festival will take place next year for sure.

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