It is not quite sure what the name means. It may be of Agaw or Amharic language. The most common explanations are “He who eats honey” and “He whom the bees obey”. When Lalibela was a baby, bees surrounded him, but they did not touch him, and this was regarded as a sign that he will be a king. Bees are involved in Ethiopian legends, and in certain places there are holy bees whose honey has healing powers.
Meskel Kebra was the wife of King Lalibela. They were married before Lalibela became the king, and they spent time together in Aksum. Meskel Kebra stayed in Aksum also while Lalibela visited Jerusalem. According to a legend, Meskel Kebra built the church of Bet Abba Libanos. You’ll find a painting of Meskel Kebra in the church. She is praying in front of the Aksum church, and now you know why!
The location of the grave of King Lalibela is unknown. There is a legend saying that he would have been buried in the double church of St. Michael and Golgata, but the grave has not been found there.
They are the sistrum, drum and stick. The sistrum dates back to the ancient Egypt. The sistrum consists of a handle and a U-shaped metal frame where wires are stretched with three or seven pieces of metal. The sistrum is shaken to get metallic sound. The drum, called kebero, is a double-headed, conical hand drum. The other end is smaller in diameter and it symbolizes the Old Testament, and the larger end symbolizes the New Testament. The stick serves two purposes: it is used to produce sound by hitting the floor, and the priests use it to lean on, as the services are really long, three to four hours on a normal Sunday.
Ambiguity in speech is typical for Amharic speaking Ethiopians. “Wax and gold” refers to a traditional form of poetry that has two meanings. The first meaning is “wax” but another meaning, “gold” can be found when interpreting the words in less obvious ways. Skillful play with words is highly appreciated among Ethiopians.
The colors – green, yellow and red – represent the colors of the rainbow with the reference to the Bible where God promised never to flood the mankind again. These colors are present also in many other African flags inspired by the fact that Ethiopia remained independent and was never colonized.
Ethiopia has its own calendar that consists of 13 months: 12 months with 30 days and the 13th month with five days, or six days during a leap year. Ethiopian new year is celebrated on September 11. And there is a lot of sunshine in Ethiopia as dry and sunny weather prevail in most parts of the country from September until May.