Ethiopians throughout the nation celebrated "Meskal", a day commemorating the finding of the true cross on which Christ was crucified, on Monday (27 September).
GV PAN Festival site
MV religious leaders
GV Priests around 'the demera'
SV PAN Emperor arrives in car
MV Priests beat 'the Kaboro' (2 shots)
SCU The Patriarch Abuna Theophilos blesses the demera
LV Aircrafts flying past in form of a cross
MV & CU Emperor lights torch
MV Emperor sets fire to demera men on horseback
MV Army, police & air force personnel parade past burning demera (6 shots)
MV Lion followed by Imperial bodyguard past (3 shots)
CU The burning demera.
Initials ES. 1150 PN/BB/1212
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Background: Ethiopians throughout the nation celebrated "Meskal", a day commemorating the finding of the true cross on which Christ was crucified, on Monday (27 September). But the largest festival was held in the capital city of Addis Ababa. The celebration brought out a crowd of over 50,000 people. Among the dignitaries taking part in the ceremony were His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie and the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The colourful ceremony includes formation flying of aircraft in the design of a cross and a ritual burning of flower and branches called "demera".
SYNOPSIS: This is the site of the religious festival of Meskal in Addis Ababa. The celebration took place on Monday and brought together many of Ethiopia's religious leaders.
As the priests gathered around the ritual bundle of flowers and branches called the 'demera', Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie arrived to take part in the religious ceremony. The Meskal festival is held each year throughout Ethiopia to commemorate the finding of the true cross on which Christ was crucified.
Among the highlights of the festival was the blessing of the 'demera' by the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Abuna Theophilos and the formation flying of aircraft over the festival site in the design of a cross.
Later in the ceremony, Emperor Selassie lit a ceremonial torch called a chibbo to set the 'demera' on fire.
In addition to the many officials attention the Meskal Festival over 60,000 Ethiopians gathered to observe the annual ritual. There are many different interpretations explaining the finding of the cross, but all agree that it was the Roman Empress Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine the Great who found it in the fourth century A.D. According to tradition, the 'demera' used in the ceremony is symbolic of the prayers and success of Empress Helena in finding the cross. It has been said that when the arrived in Jerusalem no one would show her the cite of the Holy Sepulchre. The Empress then lighted incense and prayed and has prayer was answered by God as the smoke descended to the location of the cross.
As the 'demera' burns, the Ethiopians are acting out a religious ritual that is reminder of their ancient traditions.