DU Wiki > Ă„mnen - Subjects > Tourism studies > KG3012 > Seminar 1 Cultural and natural World Heritage sites > Africa's World Heritage Sites by Ingmar Mehrtens > Meskel, Ethiopia
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Meskel, Commemoration feast of the finding of the True Holy Cross of Christ
Meskel is an Ethiopian Orthodox church annual religious festival commemorating the legend of finding the true cross of Jesus Christ. The festival is celebrated throughout the whole country on September 26th. On a national level, Meskel is celebrated on in a large-scale at the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa with hundreds of thousands of people taking part on the grand celebration. The procedure of the festival began on late afternoon when followers of the religion, the church clergy, church students and tourists began to gather in Meskel the square named after the event. The celebration consists of different procedures and festivities, singing and displaying colorful parade. At the climax of the event large bonfire called “Demera” will be lighted by the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Meskel celebration, possessing high religious value and culture has become one of the best known events for the city of Addis Ababa (MFA, UNESCO, Mamo, Y. 2014).
Figure 1, Meskel Celebration in Addis Ababa
Meskel as an Intangible Cultural Heritage
The concept of Intangible Cultural Heritages (ICH) is relatively new, according to the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, ICH are living heritages, practices, knowledge and skills that are transmitted from generation to generation expressing the values and culture of the community. In December 2013 UNESCO has inscribed Meskel celebration on the list of intangible cultural heritage, considering its cultural significance, its role of promoting social unity and inter-cultural dialogue among different societies. (MFA, UNESCO, 2014)
The primary managerial issue lies on the lack of proper entity or organization representing, monitoring and promoting the festival. The event is a public event with a large number of stakeholders like volunteers, churches and different organizations. Cooperation between stakeholders and creating ties on the preservation of the heritage was discussed by Heldt Cassel and Pashkevich (2011). But on the case of Meskel the interaction of stakeholders like city government of Addis Ababa and the organizing committee is limited. Furthermore according to UNESCO the main objective of the inscription on the ICH is to safeguard the cultural value. Meskel can be promoted as one of the major events organized in the country but, at the same time the organizers of the event should avoid excessive commercialization which leads to alteration of the main cultural and religious purpose of the celebration( UNESCO, 2014,).
Cassel Heldt S. and Pashkevich A. (2011). Heritage Tourism and Inherited Institutional Structures: The Case of Falun Great Copper Mountain. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 11: 1, 54 — 75.
Mamo, Y. (2014) Own experience and knowledge of the cultural event. [Reviewed 14.11.2014] student/Ethiopian citizen, email@example.com
Mfa.gov.et, (2014). Ministry of Foreign Affairs - MoFA. [online] Available at: http://www.mfa.gov.et/PressMore.php?pg=18 [Accessed 16 Nov. 2014].
Section, U. (2014). UNESCO Culture Sector - Intangible Heritage - 2003 Convention :. [online] Unesco.org. Available at: http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/RL/00858 [Accessed 13 Nov. 2014].
Figure 1, Unesco.org, (2014). [online] Available at: http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/im.../07868-BIG.jpg [Accessed 14 Nov. 2014].
Written by Yonas Mamo
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