Demera colorfully celebrated in Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa, September 27, 2023 (FBC) – The annual religious bonfire, Demera, which is conducted on the Eve of Meskel commemoration, was colorfully celebrated in Addis Ababa in the presence of President Sahle-Work Zewde, Ethiopian Orthodox Church archbishops and other dignitaries.
According to religious accounts of Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Empress Helena traveled to the Holy Land to uncover the various Holy sites of Christ’s life and important relics. It is said that the Empress, after much prayer, had a great bonfire lit and had large quantities of frankincense added to it.
The smoke from this pyre is said to have guided her to the spot where the Holy Cross was buried. Today is the eve of Meskel and is called Demera, which means “bonfire”.
On the occasion, General Manager of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Abune Abrham, read the speech of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) Patriarch Abune Mathias.
In his speech, Patriarch Abune Mathias said that Christians, especially followers of EOTC celebrate Meskel, the finding of the True Cross, every September 28.
According to him, the Cross teaches us to respect others and promote humility, not selfishness.
It also brings everyone together and reconciles them to God. The Cross is about peace, unity, equality, freedom and the salvation of mankind in general, the patriarch said.
Above all, Patriarch Abune Mathias emphasized the importance of practicing the words of the Cross in our practical life.
Culture and Sports Minister Kejela Merdassa said on his part that Meskel festival is celebrated in many different ways by Ethiopians.
The festival listed among UNESCO’s intangible heritages has become a world treasure with many cultural and spiritual values, he added.
Therefore, Kejela stressed the need to celebrate Meskel by avoiding hatred and revenge and maintaining unity and love.
“We must protect ourselves from thoughts that sow discord and cause strife,” the minister noted, adding that we must live in peace and free from hate preachers.
Addis Ababa Mayor Adanech Abebie through her representative appreciated the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church for its historic contribution to preserve Meskel and make it a world heritage that has become a national pride as well as a tourist attraction center beyond its religious value, according to ENA.
The mayor also conveyed her message by urging the residents of Addis Ababa city and Ethiopians to promote love, tolerance and solidarity for sustainable peace and development.