Meskal is second in importance only to Timket and has been celebrated for over 1,600 years. The word actually means “cross” and the feast commemorates when the cross of Christ was revealed to Empress Helena, mother of Constantine the Great. It is celebrated every September 27.
In Addis Ababa, celebrations start in the early afternoon when a procession bearing flaming torches approaches Meskal Square from various directions. Participants include Priests in brightly colored vestments, students, brass bands, contingents of the armed forces and floats carrying huge lit crosses. They circle the “demera” and fling torches upon it while singing a special Meskal song.
Thousands gather at the Square to bid farewell to the rains and welcome in “Tseday” the spring season with its profuse “Meskal” daisies and golden sunshine. As evening darkens, the flames glow brighter. It is not until dawn that the burning pyramid consumes itself entirely and the big tree at the center finally falls. During the celebrations, houses are stocked with “tella” the local beer, and new visitors are made welcome.
Many animals are killed for several days to create special banquettes and traditional food and drinks are prepared (tej- thew honey drink-, tela and more). Many dancing, musics, performances are held.
SEP 19 2021, Day 1: SAT. Arrival in Addis Ababa. Tour of the capital: visit the National & Ethnographic museums and Unity Park. Meals free, ON (overnight) hotel
SEP 20, Day 2: SUN. Fly to the Arbaminch. Afternoon boat trip on Chamo Lake, to visit the biggest crocodiles in Africa (reach 6 meter length), lot of hippos, birds and more Meals & Overnight Emerald Resort Arbaminch with spectacular view over Chamo & Abaya lakes & Netch SAR National Park www.emeraldresortandlodge.com
SEP 21, Day 3: MON. Drive to Turmi, admiring on the way the Konso people. Visit a Konso people village, famous for their traditions and also being the first in Africa to start the terracing agriculture. Is also a UNESCO heritage site. Late afternoon visit the colorful Hamer people. Have lunch on the way. Dinner & ON Emerald lodge Turmi www.emeraldresortandlodge.com
SEP 22, Day 4: TUE. Drive to visit a Hamer people village. Then following the people walking to the market reach Alduba & visit the very colorful Hamer, Karo and Tsemay people market. Afternoon visit the Hamer people and their villages. Afternoon drive to Omorate, at bank of Omo River, to visit the Dassanech people villages and culture, with very interesting ornaments & traditions. Or optional with luck we’ll try also to participate to ceremonies as the bull jumping and the Evangadi dances (so in that case Omorate visit will be done on next day) The Hamar are known for their unique custom of “bull jumping,” which initiates a boy into manhood. First, female relatives dance and invite whipping from men who have recently been initiated; this shows their support of the initiate, and their scars give them a right to demand his help in time of need. The boy must run back and forth twice across the backs of a row of bulls or castrated steers, and is ridiculed if he fails. Have meals & ON Emerald lodge Turmi
SEP 23, Day 5: THU. Morning drive about 1 hr to visit the Karo people, for their very interesting decoration and scarification all over their body. From Kortcho village you’ll enjoy also a spectacular view over the Omo river. Afternoon we try to visit the bull jumping or drive to Omorate, if not done on day 04. Have meals & ON Emerald lodge Turmi
SEP 24, Day 6: FRI. Drive to Jinka & proceed to visit the Mursi people and their villages. Here for beauty women use to put round plates into their lips and men different scarifications all over their body. Lunch box; dinner & overnight hotel in Jinka
SEP 25, Day 7: SAT. Drive to Dimeka town to visit the colorful market of Hamer, Kato and Tsemay people. Then proceed to Arbaminch. Lunch on the way; dinner & overnight Emerald Resort Arbaminch
SEP 26, Day 8: SUN. Morning drive to Chencha Mountain to visit the Dorze people, with their unique culture, houses and traditions, The Dorze are famous for their elephant truck shaped houses, their cultivation of the false banana (from which root they extract their traditional bread called Kotcho), the weaving works, cultivation of sorghum and more. This is a special day with the Meskel festival ceremonies. Afternoon visit the Demera in Arbaminch. Meskal is second in importance only to Timket and has been celebrated for over 1,600 years. The word actually means “cross” and the feast commemorates when the cross of Christ was revealed to Empress Helena, mother of Constantine the Great. It is celebrated every September 27.Participants circle the “demera” and fling torches upon it while singing a special Meskal song.Thousands gather and welcome in “Tseday” the spring season with its profuse “Meskal” daisies and golden sunshine. As evening darkens, the flames glow brighter. It is not until dawn that the burning pyramid consumes itself entirely and the big tree at the center finally falls. During the celebrations, houses are stocked with “tella” the local beer and local food. Lunch box; dinner & Overnight Emerald Resort Arbaminch
SEP 27, Day 9: MON. MESKEL. Fly back to Addis Ababa (cost of the flight is to be added on the price; inform us of your choice during the booking).Late afternoon time for final visits or souvenir shops. Dinner invited by the Green Land Tours & Hotels in a traditional restaurant with folkloristic dances. Transfer then to the airport for departure.
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