At the first Meskel ceremony I attended in Injibara of Awi Zone in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, a white glare suddenly came over the lens while filming the priests. The light conditions and camera settings remained the same but the fuzzy glow came and went when one man passed by. Was it a Holy Light?
MESKEL is a celebration in Ethiopia that commemorates the “finding of the true cross”. According to Orthodox belief, the cross that Jesus was crucified on was buried and later found by Queen Helena by the smoke that rose from the ground. They celebrate this by singing prayer hymns and then burning the cross in a large bonfire called a Demera. The Demera-procession takes place at dusk on the eve of Meskel and again very early in the morning on the day itself. Children and families chant, “Yo Hey... Yo Hah” while moving around the Demera clockwise three times before igniting the branches. Charcoal from the remains of the fire is used to mark the foreheads with the shape of a cross. Every household is proud to slaughter a goat, sheep or ox and feasts carry-on for an entire week.