By Maatii Sabaa
(Melbourne, Irreechaa, September 20, 2019)-The Oromia Irreechaa Organising Committee in Victoria is preparing to celebrate Irreechaa in Melbourne on 29th September.
Head of the Committee, Ob Abdeta Homa said the celebration is to strengthen and promote and Oromo culture, particularly the Irreechaa celebration in Melbourne.
Irreechaa is the annual Oromo people Thanksgiving Day that is celebrated every year in Birraa near the river bank or water and tree.
Irreechaa is celebrated every year in the end of September or beginning of October in various part of the globe where the Oromo community resides.
The celebration in Melbourne will be held in the context of the country while cultural values of the Irreechaa celebration are maintained.
The Irreechaa would be celebrated by all Oromos regardless of difference in religion, region and gender to celebrate and promote the identity of the Oromo people.
Irreechaa is the celebration of peace, unity and cooperation where the celebrants carrying bunch of straw and daisies in their hands praising, blessing and praying Waaqa in their songs.
The Irreechaa festival is celebrated every year at the beginning of Birraa (Spring), new season after the dark and rainy winter season.
The Oromo people celebrate Irreechaa not only to thank Waaqaa (God) but also to welcome the new season of plentiful harvests after the dark and rainy winter season associated with nature and creature.
Irreechaa in Exile
Irreechaa is not only practiced among the Oromo in Oromia. As hundreds of the Oromo are in exile for different reasons, their culture, religion, language and identity also exiled with them. Thus, Irreecha is celebrated in Oromia and around the world where diaspora Oromos live especially, Kenya, Uganda, Eritrea, Australia, South Africa, Europe and North America.
“Because Irreechaa has a cultural ambiance in connecting the people to Oromo land and the creator, Waaqa, it still remained as strong element of connection between the Oromo in diaspora and home – Oromia,” Ob Abdeta said.
In the past ten years or so, the Oromo across different parts of the world (from Toronto to Melborne and Bergen to Johannesburg) have come together and celebrated Irreechaa as a common icon of their identity.
If anything could be mentioned in bridging the differences (political and religious) within Oromo in the diaspora, Irreechaa has become the major binding force not as a mere cultural or religious practice but for its conjoint constitution of culture and identity.
Currently, Irreechaa has got publicity among the non-Oromos (Ethiopians and non-Ethiopians alike) to the extent that city administrations in different countries recognized the celebration and granted the Oromo with the spaces for the ritual.
Irreechaa brings people closer
Moreover, the Oromo people celebrate this auspicious event to mark the end of rainy season, known as Ganna, was established by Oromo forefathers, in the time of Gadaa Melbaa in Mormor, Oromia.
The auspicious day on which this last Mormor Day of Gadaa Belbaa – the Dark Time of starvation and hunger- was established on the 1st Sunday of last week of September or the 1st Sunday of the 1st week of October according to the Gadaa lunar calendar has been designated as National Thanksgiving Day by modern-day Oromo people.
Irreechaa celebrations as a means of promoting Oromummaa
“What a wonderful time we had on a cooler than typical spring day in 2019 enjoying all that the Irreechaa Festival presented, Ob Abdeta Homa added.
After many years’ unseen events, the first national Irreechaa Festival was held in 1991 in Oromia, East Africa and later became an annual event, which now runs for five weeks, and is one of the most pleasant reminders in Oromia that spring has definitely sprung!
“Here in Australia, Melbourne, we continue this fabulous event every year since 2009.
“The celebrations are unique in that the Melbourne celebration has come again and that contributes to the development of Oromummaa in the Diaspora,” Ob Abdeta said.
In the traditional religion of the Oromos, the spirit is the power through which Waaqaa (The Almighty God) governs all over the world. Thus, Oromos believe that every creation of Waaqaa has its own spirit.
Thanks to God for all the blessing
This festival is a spectacular show of cultural, historical and natural beautification in their full glory at the height of the season. It has spawned somewhat of a science of knowing just when the blooms will peak at blooms and decline, depending on the wind, rain, and sunshine they get.
Now it is the beginning of 2019 Irreechaa celebrations, the premier holiday of the Oromo people marks the end of the dark-rainy season and the beginning of a blossom harvest season.
It is in Oromo tradition to gather at the river banks and lakes shores to give thanks to the almighty Waaqaa for all the blessings throughout past years and ask for Araaraa (Reconciliation), Nagaa (Peace), Walooma (Harmony) and Finnaa (Holistic Development) for the past, the present and the future.
“The event is very important for our community as it brings the community together and helps to connect and share experiences in their day to day life.”
“Together, we can make our destiny better everywhere.”