Pilgrimage to Mount Zeqwala

By Tibebeselassie Tigabu 

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - On top of Mount Zeqwala every one is running all over the place to get a spot, pushing around to get into the church, laughing, lighting candles and praying. Meanwhile, after reaching the top of the mountain, an old woman in her 60s, kissed the ground. After kissing the ground, she sat down solemnly. Trying to catch her breath, she looked down on the mountainous route she had followed.

The scorching sunlight of the semi-desert mountainous terrain is a struggle for a couple of hours. One might feel like being roasted on a frying pan.

And the reason for the gathering is that every year Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo followers celebrate Saint Abune Gebre Menfes Kidus’ Day on Tikimit 5 (October 15) on the mountain.

On the eve, multitudes gather to go to the mountain. Planning for the pilgrimage is usually starts before the holiday.

Many people from Addis Ababa go to Kaliti to catch a bus that goes to Zeqwala. There are also those who who drive to the mountain. After reaching Debre Zeit there is another 30-km gravel road that takes to the foot of the mountain.

Before starting the trekking people that come from different corners of the country meet up in a small town which takes to the mountain. At that place there are restaurants that are made of mud houses that sell tibs, tej, areke, and soda. Read more