Meskal has been celebrated in the country for over 1600 years. The word actually means “cross” and the feast commemorates the discovery of the cross upon which Jesus was crucified, by the Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. The original event took place on 19 March 326 AD. but the feast is now celebrated on 27 September.
Many of the rites observed throughout the festival are said to be directly connected to the legend of Empress Helena. On the eve of Meskal, tall branches are tied together and yellow daisies, popularly called Meskal.
Flowers, are placed at the top. During the night those branches are gathered together in front of the compound gates and ignited. This symbolizes the actions of the Empress who, when no one would show the Holy Sepulcher, lit incense and prayed for help.