Meskel is one of the most colourful religious festivals in Ethiopia
Meskel Bonfire, a festival commemorating the discovery of the true cross on which the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, was on Sunday celebrated across Ethiopia.
The celebration in Addis Ababa attracted hundreds of thousands of the faithful from all corners of the country.
The Fourth Patriarch of Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Abune Merkorios, and Patriarch Abune Mathias attended the Meskel Celebration at the Meskel Square, the Church’s own possession that was renovated recently as part of Abiy Ahmed’s government mega projects in the capital Addis Ababa.
The Key message of spiritual leader was peace. Ethiopia has been dragged to war mainly in the northern part of the country after the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) attacked several bases of the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Defense Force in November 2020.
Also, president Sahlework Zewde and Addis Ababa’s Mayor, Adanech Abiebie and the Minister for Culture, Hirut, attended the event.
Last year, it was celebrated with only 5000 people due to the coronavirus situation in the country. Despite a growing number of COVID 19 patients in the country, the government was apparently unable to adhere to social distancing measures that were implemented last year.
Addis Ababa Police said the holiday was celebrated without any security incident. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed expressed his gratitude for all those who contributed to make this year’s celebration of the UNESCO registered religious festival a peaceful one.
The Festival was also celebrated in many other cities outside the capital, except in some areas in the South and Oromo region of Ethiopia due to what seems to be undue political and administrative pressure on the Ethiopian Church as it has been targeted by radical ethnic nationalist groups as an entity to be weakened. Targeted killings of Ethiopian Orthodox Church followers in those parts of Ethiopia, among others, was in the rise after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in 2018.
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