Baga Ayyaanna Irrechaatiin isin gahe!! Happy Ireechaa!
The Oromo nation is East Africa’s largest ethnic group for its cultural, spiritual and social values. In Ethiopia, home to the majority of East African Oromo, the main celebration of Irreecha in October coincides with the end of the summer rainy season. In a ceremony held every year at Hora Harsadii (Lake Hora ) in Bishoftu town, 45Km south east of the capital Addis Abeba, a gathering of millions of Oromo will give thanks to Waaqaa (God) and ask for Nagaa (Peace), Finnaa (the development of mind and body), Walooma (togetherness or harmony), and Araaraa (Reconciliation). They also pay respect to the previous generations of Oromos who endured the odds and helped this colorful celebration sustain from generations to generations.
Alemayehu Diro- Irreecha is one of the ancient ceremonial events taking place twice a year ever since the existence of Oromo as a nation. The Irreecha festivity celebrated in Birraa (in September and October) is the cultural expression of Galata (thankfulness) to Waaqaa (equivalent to the English word God) for providing life necessities to human beings and other living things. This is because the Oromo believe Waaqaa is the sole creator of everything and source of all life. It is also regarded as pure, omnipresent, infinite, incomprehensible and intolerant to injustice, crime, sin and all falsehood. It can do and undo anything.
Irreecha constitutes one of the several religious and cultural practices defining the hallmark of the entire Oromo life. It has promoted and enhanced understanding and unity among the Oromo. It has helped build their common values and shared visions, and consolidated peace (Nagaa Oromo), tolerance and resilience. During Irreecha festivity, the Oromo pray to Waaqaa for peace and stability to prevail; prosperity and abundance to exist; law and social order to be maintained; and the environment to be protected. The Oromo also pray to the supreme Waaqaa for deliverance in times of difficulties and challenges.
This cultural and religious practice of the Oromo was systematically outlawed for more than a century following the fall of the Oromo nation under the tyrant and brutal rules of Minilk II and subsequent Regimes. Despite several odds and difficult circumstances, however, Irreecha has begun to revive in the last two decades. The festivity has registered impressive development from year to year in terms of the number of people attending the occasion and cultural shows being demonstrated. In particular, the Irreecha festivity taking place at Hora Harsadii in Bishoftu has uniquely become Oromo-wide religious and cultural event drawing millions of people from all corners of Oromia and beyond.