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September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
3 January 2012
Greg Kandra

Ethiopians celebrate Maskal in 2007. (photo: Petterik Wiggers)

For many Christians around the world, the Christmas season is celebrated with lights — but the photo above reminds us that Ethiopians use light to mark another great feast, Maskal, which commemorates the finding of the true cross by St. Helena. The feast takes place in late September. As this account describes it:

Maskal is a religious and joyful annual social occasion that Christians throughout the country look forward to each year. Both women and men wear their national clothes, while youths boast and compete in fights with sticks. There is also jesting as well as flirting and courting sanctioned by the festival. These days, people return from the capital parade to their houses and bring the torches called Chibbo, to neighborhood bonfire gatherings.

You can read more about Ethiopia’s religious traditions in this article from ONE in 2004: Behold the Ethiopian.

Tags: Ethiopia Africa

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