Meskel has been celebrated in the country for over 1600 years. The word actually means ‘crosses in Ge’ez, the classic language of Ethiopia, now used predominantly in the Ethiopian Orthodox church. The feast commemorates the discovery of the cross upon which Jesus was crucified, by the Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. The original event took place on March 326 Ad. But the feast is now celebrated on 27 September.
Hoyahoye Many of the rites observed throughout the festival are said to be directly connected to the legend of Empress Helena on the eve of Meskel, tall branches are tied together and yellow daises, popularity called Meskel flowers, are placed at the top. During the night those branches are gathered together in the front of the compound gate and ignited. This symbolizes the action of the Empress.