The festival of Meskel, one of the major Ethiopian Orthodox festivals is celebrated across Ethiopia on September 26th and 27th to commemorate the unearthing of the True Holy Cross of Christ by Queen Helena (Saint Helena) in the fourth century. The celebration includes the burning of a large bonfire known as Demera. The best place to experience the Meskel Festival is in the capital Addis Ababa at the famous Meskel Square. Meskel is also colorfully celebrated along the Historic Route (Bahir Dar, Gondar, Axum, Lalibela) and in other major towns.
Ethiopian Christmas (Genna) which will be celebrated on January 7th 2018, is unique and wondrous everywhere but particularly special at the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, where thousands of pilgrims come from all over the country to participate in the colorful midnight mass where priests chant and dance along to rhythmic drum beats.