• Short Summary

    The annual religious festival of Maskal was celebrated throughout Ethiopia on Thursday (26 September) with traditional splendour although in Addis Ababa the ceremony was held for the first time in four decades without Emperor Haile Selassie.

  • Description

    The annual religious festival of Maskal was celebrated throughout Ethiopia on Thursday (26 September) with traditional splendour although in Addis Ababa the ceremony was held for the first time in four decades without Emperor Haile Selassie.

    Police and troops kept watch over the small crowd which gathered in Maskal Square in the capital. In past years as many as 100,000 people have crowded into the Square to see the Ethiopian Church leaders celebrate the festival, but this year there was only a tenth of that number. A giant bonfire - demera - is the centre of the ritual. It's light symbolises the search for and discovery of the True Cross.

    The torchlight parades of past years were not held and the only high-ranking officials present were from the Church. In Addis Ababa, the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Abunna Theiowefles, presided over the ceremony.

    The festival of Maskal takes its name from the brilliant yellow daisy - maskal - which blooms all over Ethiopia at this time of year. Some of the holiday's significance is linked to the daisy's symbolism of the coming of spring. some of it's religious meaning can be traced to the fourth century when Queen Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine 1, is said to have journeyed to Jerusalem in search of the holy Sepulchre. To light her way she tied long poles upright, set them aflame and prayed for divine guidance. In answer to her entreaty, the smoke rose skyward, descended and touched the spot where the True Cross had lain buried for nearly 300 years.

    SYNOPSIS: The traditional celebrations to mark the Ethiopian religious festival of Maskal were restrained this year in Addis Ababa.

    The only high-ranking dignitaries were officials of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

    Crowds of up to one-hundred-thousand have attended the festival in past years - this year the crowd was about ten thousand.

    The Maskal celebrations in the capital on Thursday were the first held in four decades without Emperor Haile Selassie. Military and civil authorities were also absent.

    His Holiness, Abunna Theiowefles, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, presided over the ceremony.

    The Patriarch save three visitors a very special souvenir.

    Ethiopia has been Christian since the Fourth Century when it was evangalised by two brothers who won the confidence of the King after their capture at an Ethiopian port.

    A bonfire, called demera, is the centre of the Maskal. It's draped with the yellow maskal daisies from which the festival takes its name. Their blooming throughout the Ethiopian countryside heralds the approach of spring.

    The Acting Mayor of Addis Ababa lit the demera. It's light symbolises the search for and symbolises the search for the discovery of the True Cross.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA7J4LE7QA7V54E6E6XC7SRKELC
    Media URN:
    VLVA7J4LE7QA7V54E6E6XC7SRKELC
    Group:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    28/09/1974
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:01:59:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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