Maaloula is a mountain village in Syria with a Christian majority which is located 56 km to the northeast of Damascus, is one of the most scenic villages in Syria and is of particular interest as the only place in the world where Aramaic, the language spoken by Christ, is still used as a living language.
Maaloula, in its own way, the Holy Cross Festivity, which falls on the 13th of September. As the day when stage wood on which Jesus Christ was crucified, was found.
“This festival dates back to the era of Queen Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, who then accompanied the Roman convoy in search of the Holy Cross,” member of the Aramaic Language Committee at Damascus University Bashar Mos’ad said.
When Queen Helena arrived in al-Quds ( Jerusalem), she encouraged the city residents to find the Cross…which was found at Golgotha. So she ordered, as agreed, to lit fire at the top of Golgotha to publicize the new of finding the cross.
People at the top of Hermon Mount received the signal so they did the same and so on until the news was received by the emperor.
Researcher Elias Nasrallah said the celebration begins at Maaloula with a big number of young people ascending the top of both mountains to the north and the south to lit the fire that continues all the night.
Then, the next day they descend to begin local ceremonies that will last all day on September 14.
Mr Nasrallah said that each year on the day of celebration, the town hosts 35,000 visitors from different governorates as well as Arab and foreign tourists wishing to attend or contribute to this celebration.