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Tour 40 : Simien Mountains and Meskal festival

Duration: 9 days

Description: The Simien Mountains explored and Meskal enjoyed.

Program: Excursion to the Simien Mountains and enjoy one of the unique festivals of the world; Meskal/ The discovery of the Real Cross procession.

Transport: all by air, except Bahird Dar to Gondar and the excursion to The Simien Mountains National Park

Meskal: the finding of the True Cross

Maskal ( meskal, meskel) is a day of flowers and the feast of Chris-cross that we celebrate it in late September every year. According to the Ethiopian church history, Queen Helena or Elleni knelt down and prayed in holy place in Jerusalem. This was to get the life giving cross of Jesus Christ. Hence, she was told in her dream to make a huge bonfire and stay where she had been told until signs appeared.

In her dream, the smoke went up and bent down from the sky and touched the spot on the earth where the original cross had been found buried. She then ordered some people to make bon fire.  As the great black column of smoke poured out from the bonfire and touched the ground similar to her dream, she ordered the people to dig the area deeply until the finding of the true cross of Jesus Christ. The feast is celebrated in Ethiopia on September 17 Ethiopian calendar (September 27 Gregorian calendar), 6 months after the discovery of the True Cross. The celebration of Meskel signifies the presence of the True Cross at mountain of Gishen Mariam monastery and also symbolizes the events carried out by Empress Helena.

Highlights of the itinerary:

Day 1: Sep. 26 morning – Arrive Addis Ababa. Eve of the finding of the true cross and in the afternoon is the main bonfire procession time.

Day 2: Sep. 27 – Sightseeing in Addis and enjoy the Meskal day

Day 3: Sep. 28 – Fly to Axum

Sightseeing in Aksum

Day 4: Sep. 29 – Fly to Lalibela

Day 5: Sep. 30 – Sightseeing in Lalibela

Day 6: Oct. 01 – Fly to Gondar and sightseeing in Gondar

Day 7: Oct. 02 – Day trip to the Simien mountains National Park

Day 8: Oct. 03 – Drive to Bahir Dar and sightseeing in Bahir dar

Day 9: Oct. 04 – Flight to Addis Ababa and optional sightseeing during the rest of your time

Day 10: Oct. 05 – Departure

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