Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ethiopian Meskel Celebration

Meskel is the holiday celebrating the discovery of the one true cross of the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian religion.

In the fourth century, Queen Helena had a revelatory dream that the smoke of a bonfire would lead her to where the one true cross was buried.  She ordered the people of Jerusalem to bring wood and build a large bonfire, or Demera and burn it with frankincense.  The smoke rose and fell to the spot the cross was buried. Meskel is celebrated every year with a feast and burning of a Demera.  Small yellow Meskel flowers decorate the ceremonies.  The ash from the Demera is used to mark a cross on the foreheads of the Orthodox followers.

The International Community School Addis Ababa has a wonderful celebration every year that I was glad to participate in this year with Addie.

There was a dramatization by the third graders about Meskel, dancing, singing, coffee ceremony, traditional bread and popcorn,

gorgeous traditional Ethiopian dresses (as well as gorgeous Habesha women)
and the burning of the Demera. 
I think I was most impressed with the children's participation in the event of our host country.  There was so much diversity and as I watched and photographed the kids, I was offered a real example of how amazing this overseas experience is for my children and for us as a family.

2 comments:

Danielle said...

Oh wow, Sara these photos are absolutely stunning!! They are beautiful, you could put these in a magazine! What a gorgeous celebration and I hear you on the great melting pot of international schools. My husband loved going to school overseas and I hope Will has a simliarly good experience someday.

Sara said...

Thanks Danielle! I am really loving having a child at the international school. It's opening up an entirely new community for us to be involved in.

Sometimes I struggle with the question of whether I am doing the right thing for my children by having them overseas and is it or isn't it harming them in some way. The experience for me today was such a great affirmation of my thoughts that my children are being enriched by our overseas experienced not hindered.