A Description of Irreechaa Arfaasaa

Irreechaa Arfaasaa is a day of thanksgiving at the end of dry seasons and beginning of rainy season every year at the top of hills or mountains to acquire and celebrate good spirit. For this event, the Oromos usually go to the mountain during the time of their worshiping rituals, or during Irreessaa celebration.

Traditionally, Oromos hold two seasonal Irreecha festivals at national level:

1) one is held at the end of September (or beginning of October) at the start of the sunny season and the end of the rainy season (i.e. during the harvest season, thus it’s called ‘Thanksgiving’ festival). This seasonal Irreecha is most known to Oromos and friends of the Oromo throughout the world. This Irreecha is called Irreecha Birraa.

2) The other Irreecha festival is held on the onset of the rainy season (i.e. during the sowing season). The sowing season’s Irreecha celebration is held to pray to Waaqaa to bring about Good Spirit with rain and efforts; after all, farmers spread their seeds on the ground with the only assurance that Waaqaa is on their side to turn the seeds into bountiful crops at the end of the rainy season. This Irreecha is called Irreecha Arfaasaa.

The month of May is the height of the sowing season in Oromia, and it’s during this month that Irreecha Arfaasaa (‘Oromo Festival of Good Spirit’) is held in Oromia among the Oromo people. The following are video clips from this year’s Irreecha Arfaasaa celebrations in Oromia.

The Oromo people celebrate Irreechaa Arfaasaa not only to thank Waaqaa (God) but also to welcome the new rainy winter season associated with nature and creature. On Irreechaa festivals, friends, family, and relatives gather together and celebrate with joy and happiness. Irreechaa festivals bring people closer to each other and make social bonds.

Moreover, the Oromo people celebrate this auspicious winter event to mark the end of dry season, known as Bonaa, and to welcome the dry seasons. It 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 May or the 1st Sunday of the 1st week of June according to the Gadaa lunar calendar has been designated as the second winter Thanksgiving Day by modern-day Oromo people.