Meskel is an important holiday for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. It has been celebrated for more than 1,600 years and marks the finding of the True Cross. It is celebrated on 17 Meskerem in the Ethiopian calendar, which is the 27th of September in the Gregorian calendar.
There are nearly 50 million members in the Orthodox Church in Ethiopia. Large crowds gather in Meskel Square in the center of Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa. There is a large bonfire and a procession of people bearing torches, merging from all directions. The celebration lasts until dawn and includes traditional foods and music.
Adana Shisema celebrated Meskel by traveling 250 km (155 miles) to spend time with his extended family. They shared a meal of cultural foods that included kitfo and kocho, and enjoyed socializing with one another and with local villagers.