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In the Ethiopian Orthodox Meskel is an annual religious holiday commemorating the discovery of the True Cross by Queen Helena, the mother of the great Roman Emperor Constantine (Saint Helena). Meskel happens on 17 Meskerem in the Ethiopian calendar (September 27, Gregorian calendar, or September 28 in leap years). "Meskel" (or "Meskal" or "Mesqel", there are various ways to transliterate from Ge'ez to Latin script) is Ge'ez for "cross".

The Meskel celebration includes the burning of a large bonfire, or Demera, based on the dream of a monk in Jerusalem, whose name was Kirakos who revealed to Queen Eleni the exact location of the true cross. She was told that she should make a bonfire and that the smoke would show her where the true cross was buried. So she ordered the people of Jerusalem to bring wood and make a huge pile. After adding frankincense to it the bonfire was lit and the smoke raised high up to the sky and returned to the ground, exactly to the spot where the Cross had been buried.

This colorful ceremony has recently been rigistired under UNESCO as an intangible world heritage.

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