Mesqel Square fills with smoke as thousands gather to mark the eve of the eponymous holiday by lighting ritual bonfires. Followers of the Orthodox Tewahdo Church celebrate the day each year that marks the rediscovery of the "True Cross" in the 4th century. The evening is set against a backdrop of hymns by choirs armed with unique Ethiopian church instruments. Mesqel celebrations take place two weeks into the Ethiopian New Year weaving into the early months a festive spirit rarely seen throughout the year. This year's celebrations were highlighted by tight security in the capital with motorcycles banned and a large security apparatus patrolling the streets.
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