Ethiopia’s Meskel Celebration Exemplary for Peaceful Coexistence: Tourists

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Addis Ababa September 24/2019 The celebration of Meskel, the finding of the True Cross, is exemplary for coexistence and harmony in the entire world, tourists said.

Thousands of people from all walks of life and with no regard to race, religion or ethnic background from Ethiopia and abroad converged on Meskel Square yesterday to mark Demera, the eve of Meskel.

Ethiopian Orthodox Christians mark the finding of the True Cross for two days with assortment of activities.

The eve of Meskel, known as Demera, is celebrated with the erecting and burning a large bonfire to commemorate the action that Empress Helena took in the fourth century to know the exact place where theTrue Cross was buried.

Demera, which is part of the Meskel celebration, is among the heritages of Ethiopia that inscribed by UNESCO.

Followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church converge to places where this celebration takes place including the Meskel Square in the Capital Addis Ababa to mark the day.

The celebration also attracts tourists from across the globe. Trisha Okenge, from Canada, is among the tourists who came to Ethiopia to attend the celebration.

She said “this is definitely my first time and it is very exciting to be in Meskel square for Meskel.”

She expressed her excitement on seeing thousands and thousands of people united, coming together around one purpose saying “I think it’s so beautiful”.

“I definitely think that there is an element of tradition here in Ethiopia that is so strong and other countries can learn so much about adhering to that tradition and respecting that tradition at the same time embracing new ideas and views. I see that in Ethiopia there has definitely been a progress and effort towards unity and bringing people together around one idea or one purpose and this is an example. Even people who are not necessarily orthodox believers like myself are very much welcome at this type of celebrations,” Okenge said.

She noted the coming of tourists and others from many different countries to celebrate Meskel in Ethiopia should promote its value for peaceful coexistence.

Breh Maynard, another tourist from UK, who happens to celebrate Meskel after 20 years in Ethiopia, expressed his amusement of the collaboration for the celebration.

He added that it was exciting to see people singing and coming together to the square to colorfully and peacefully celebrate the day.

SB: 2 Cue in 1:39 … Cue out 2:03

“I think it’s really important too because everybody is allowed to come here and to share the day. You have Muslim people cleaning the street, you have Catholic and Christian people setting up the event, there are Chinese tourists, Japanese ambassador, there is British tourist here: so I mean everybody’s welcome and I think it’s really important for everybody to be able to experience the day,” Maynard said.

He added that the church should record the event and share it with the rest of the world so that everybody can see how amazing it is.

Another tourist from USA, Miranda Beckman said “I am happy to be here and I think it is a beautiful celebration and full of culture and history that brings so many people together.”

“It brings many people together and everybody is respectful, polite and kind. I think it will continue to bring people together and has the spirit of community and friendship,” Beckman said.

The Meskel celebration, which incorporates the eve and actual day to commemorate the finding of the True Cross, inscribed as an intangible human heritage by UNESCO, is among the outdoor holidays of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians.