Meskal (Finding of the True Cross, 27 September)

It is celebrated in memory of the finding of the True Cross by Empress Eleni. Legend has is that  the cross up on which Christ was crucified was discovered in the year 326 by Empress Helen,  mother of Constantine the great. Unable to find the holy sepulture, she prayed for help and was  directed by the smoke of an increase burner to where the cross was buried. It is celebration by bonfire topped with an image of a cross to which flowers are tied. Priests in full ceremonial dress bless the bonfire before it is lit. This festival coincides with the mass blooming of the golden Yellow Maskal Daisies, called Adey Ababa in Amharic; symbolically heralding the advent  of a new year after the rainy season is over.

In the middle ages, the patriarch of Alexandria gave the Ethiopian emperor Dawit half of the  true cross in return for the protection afforded to the Coptic christens. A fragment of the true cross  is reputed to be held at the Gishen Mariam monastery, which is about 70km to the NW of Desie. Maskel means cross in Amharic. On the day of the festival bright yellow Meskel daisies are tied to pilled high in town Squares.