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  • Chidozie Uzoezie

Meskel: Find the True Cross with ATQ News and Ethiopian Airlines



If you ever want to find the 'True Cross' of Jesus Christ, you don't need to embark on a pilgrimage to Calvary or Golgotha. That is because what you're looking for in Jerusalem is in Ethiopia.


ATQ News and Ethiopian Airlines, Nigeria have put heads together to spare you the stress. The occasion is the Meskel Festival. And whether you call it Meskel or Meskal or Mesqel, it means 'cross' in Geʽez - an ancient Ethiopian Semitic language.


The True Cross is the actual cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. Meskel is an annual religious festival in the Ethiopian Orthodox churches, which commemorates the discovery of the True Cross by the Roman Empress Helena in the fourth century.


Meskel occurs annually on the 17 Meskerem in the Ethiopian calendar (September 27 in the Gregorian calendar). In other Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant churches, Meskel Festival is known as the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. In Churches that follow the Gregorian calendar, the feast is celebrated on 27 September.


What Happens at Meskel


Meskel Festival is one of Ethiopia's most popular and most significant religious feasts. It is held in Meskel Square in the capital city of Addis Ababa. Addis Ababa is probably the best place to experience the Meskel Festival in its fullness and with all the complements. However, Meskel is also widely celebrated across the entire length and breadth of Ethiopia, especially in the Northern and Southern regions of the country.



Meskel Festival is very colourful and truly remarkable. It begins with a solemn procession of the young people and religious leaders. Religious and civil leaders preside over the celebration, while public figures give speeches with reference to biblical themes.


There are music renditions by different church choirs from different parts of Ethiopia, each wearing its own elaborately decorated and richly symbolic dresses. The monophonic chants and the choral renditions are accompanied by beautifully choreographed dance steps. You can't afford not to love it.



When it begins to get dark, towards the night, large Bonfire, locally called Demera, is made. According to history, Queen Helena of the Byzantine Empire sought to find the True Cross in the fourth century. In a dream, she was told by the Spirit of God to make a bonfire with frankincense, the smoke of which was to show her where the True Cross was buried. She did as she was told in the dream, and she found the True Cross. St Helena was an Empress of the Roman Empire and the mother of the Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great.



The bonfire gives way to party, and parte after parte. But preceding the bonfire is the incredibly beautiful sight of the arena as the entire Meskel Square is literally lit by a lighted traditional candle carried by everyone at the square. The amazing orange flames spread to the descending horizons as far as your eyes can go.


Bonfires are an integral part of the Meskel Festival. In fact, it wouldn't be Meskel Festival without bonfires. But beside the bonfires and all the excitements, the Meskel Festival is a deeply significant celebration for Ethiopia as a nation. Many Ethiopians who live in cities and in diaspora return to their villages to celebrate the Meskel Festival.


In Ethiopia, Meskel is not just a holiday, but also a holy day of obligation. The festival presents a rare occasion for Ethiopians across the globe to promote their spiritual life through reconciliation, social cohesion and peaceful coexistence.


The Pecks and the Extras


ATQ News, in collaboration with Ethiopian Airlines Nigeria, is offering tourists and holidaymakers from Nigeria an amazing opportunity to enjoy this year's Ethiopian Meskel Festival with attractive all-inclusive deals. The tour will take place from 25 to 29 September, 2022. And it's much more than the Meskel Festival.



The holiday package price is N893,500 for single occupancy and N757,000 for double occupancy. The tour package covers return flight ticket from Nigeria, visa fees, airport transfers, 4-night accommodation (3 nights at the prestigious Ethiopian Skylight Hotel and 1 night at Entoto Kuriftu Tented Camp), 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 2 dinners, as well as all entrance fees.



The tour package also covers city tour to the National Museum, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Unity Park, special permit to the Meskel Festival, Entoto Mountain, Zipline Experience, cultural and folklore dance, shopping, and partying.


Your Ethiopian Meskel holiday will kick off with a city tour of Addis Ababa. Addis Ababa is a diplomatic capital, playing host to the headquarters of the African Union (AU) as well as the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).



After a restful night at the 5-star Ethiopian Skylight Hotel, you will be picked up in the morning for a historic tour of the Ethiopian National Museum, Unity Park, and the Trinity Cathedral. In the early afternoon, your tour bus will head to the Meskel Square where the main action is. Meskel Festival will last into the night, putting you in the mood for some party after party.


On your itinerary is also a scenic drive to Entoto Hills, from where you can get a panoramic view of the city. Ziplining will afford you the rare power to embark on an aerial adventure while experiencing the exhilarating freedom of flight.



Spending a night at Entoto Kuriftu Tented Camp will offer you the chance to rediscover pure hospitality laced with pristine nature and ecosystem. The cultural and folklore dance sessions will give you a rare opportunity to practice cultural exchange, while reveling in traditional gastronomic experience.


Now, Pack Your Bags


Your Ethiopian Meskel holiday will be memorable in more ways than one. You'll satisfy your religious curiosity and put your adrenaline to good use.


If you want to be a part of this tour, please contact ATQ News by calling 0814 628 8455 or by sending an email to atqnews@gmail.com. Now, pack your bag and let's find the True Cross this Meskel Festival with ATQ News and Ethiopian Airlines.

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