Friday, September 27, 2013

Melkem Meskel 2013

International School Addis Ababa does a spectacular job celebrating Ethiopian Meskel, the finding of the one true cross in the Ethiopian orthodox religion.  It's a big celebration around the city with large tee pee style bonfires lit on every corner.  For a family with small children, it's just too hard to get to Meskel square in Addis Ababa to see the official celebration.  The crowds are just too much.  Being able to attend with the children for a family friendly Meskel at ICS is wonderful.  I was even prepared this year with dresses made for the girls.  What a treat!
Last year, I was wowed by the entire tradition of Meskel, the dancing, the chanting and the burning of the demera.  I attended the celebration with Addie and my camera.  This year, with Ashlynn and Arabella in tow as well, I had less opportunities for amazing photos but many more precious memories.
My favorite moments were when Bella and Ash were able to sit with Addie and her class to watch the dancing and eat popcorn (a very traditional Ethiopian treat).  Addie amazes me with her compassion for her two younger sisters.

When everyone gathered to watch the burning of the demera, things got a little hairy for me.  Arabella especially hates loud music or speaking over speaker systems, so when speakers were moved to within 5 feet of us and the huge raging fire burned and the wine blew ashes on us; I had a sobbing 4 year old and very concerned 2 year old.  We all rushed up the hill away from the smoke and ashes which allowed us a moment to regroup and calm some fears.
All in all, the girls did really well.  Bella's still not a crowd lover but Addie and Ashlynn really enjoyed the entire thing.  As did I!

Melkam Meskel Ethiopia!
Addie and her best friend
St. Gabriel's choir

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