Celebrations around the world: Meskel (Ethiopian Orthodox), 27th September


Meskel translates in Ge’ez, the ancient Ethiopian language, as ‘cross’. This annual festival celebrates the discovery of the cross that Jesus was crucified upon.


According to scripture, the Roman Emperor Constantine, Queen Helena, in the 4th century had a dream where she was instructed to build a bonfire. The smoke would show her where the true cross was buried. She built a fire and her dream came to pass.


Every year on 27th September, crowds gather in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, for the celebrations. Meskel Square, named for the festival, hosts a demera, or bonfire, which is decorated with daisies. Celebrations start early and continue all day and into the evening, when they are concluded with shared prayers.

We always love to hear from customers about their own celebrations. Please get in touch if you have observed any of September’s festivals and would like to share stories or photos with us!