Meskel is a religious feast, that is celebrated in Ethiopia and Eritrea.
The feast falls on the 17 Meskerem in the Ethiopian calendar, that is September 27 or 28 according to the Gregorian calendar.
Meskel is the analogue of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches, that is celebrated on September 14.
The feast celebrates the discovery of the True Cross by Queen Helena in the 4th century.
According to a legend, Queen Helena had a revelation in a dream.
She was told to make a fire and the smoke would show her the place, where the cross was buried.
She ordered to make a bonfire and added some frankincense.
After that the smoke rose up and returned to the ground, showing the exact place where the Cross was.
Celebration of Meskel has its own traditions.
Celebration begins with Demera-procession, that takes place on the day before or on Meskel itself.
Before the ceremony the firewood is decorated with daisies, then the bonfire is lit and afterwards the faithful collect the remaining charcoals to mark crosses on their foreheads.