Irrecha: Signifies Unwavering Unity, Solidarity among Oromos
Addis Ababa, September 29, 2018 (FBC) – The Irrecha festival is part and parcel of an ancient tradition of the Geda system. It is an indigenous religious and cultural tradition in which Oromos are gathering together to thank their creator Waaqa (God) for the blessings it has provided them.
This festival occurs right after the culmination of the rainy season and stands out as a very important cultural and religious heritage associated with the belief in a system with the cosmology among the Oromos. The environment, nature and resources that it provides to mankind play an important role in Oromo philosophy of life.
On Irrecha festival, friends, families, and relatives come together and celebrate the occasion with delight and happiness. It also creates opportunity to bring the Oromo people closer to each other in strengthening their unity, solidarity and social cohesion.
Historian at Addis Ababa University, Professor Tesema Ta’a said Irrecha is a traditional thanksgivings event in which they acknowledge what God has done for them. On this occasion, the Oromos pay a spiritual tribute to Waaqa for what he has done not only for the Oromos but for the entire mankind as well. “We really get the celebration and thanksgiving because of what God has done for us in hope of better life, in the hope peaceful life, in the hope of prosperity, in the hope of fighting against any hazards element against humanity” he said.
On the Irecha festival, Oromos come together to enjoy their happiness and thank to their God without no difference in age, gender, wealth and status, as everybody have equal rights to participate on the ritual.
Its celebration is not related to any political purposes, it is about social harmony and giving thanks to Waaqa that has to be extremely peaceful and free from any harassment.
Oromos hold two seasonal Irrecha festivals
Irrecha is one of the indigenous ancient ceremonial events taking place twice a year (in spring and autumn). This open door festival brings millions of Oromos across different walks of life to pray and express their gratefulness for their creator, Waaqa.
The Irreecha Birra (the Spring Irrecha)
It is an Oromo tradition to draw together on the river banks and the shores of lakes and give thankfulness to Waaqa (God) for all his gratitude and thanksgiving for peace and reconciliation. As water is the source of life, praising the creator and its creation, thanking God for the offers is what to be performed by being gathered around the rivers and vicinity.
On the festival the communities praise God for the blessed transition from the rainy season which is normally considered gloomy and dark to the bright, fresh and colorful season. It signifies the arrival of spring and brighten season with their vibrant green and daisy flowers.
Professor Tessema said “Irrecha ceremony takes place at the onset of spring when the cloud clear, when the rain go, they said God has helped us to come to light they consider the darkness of the rain season in which rain bringing in fertilely, bringing in kind of love when the vegetation of the area changes as at the same time trees real get the rain and crop also are grow and the sign of hope comes.”
“They appreciate waaqa with songs, with chanting and they use their traditional customs, traditional food which is very tasty. Children, youngster, old men and old women really express their happiness at the same time since the rain season different village in different areas and different people in different areas could not meet each other because rivers become full of water and they could not cross the rivers to meet their friends in the rain season,” professor said.
The celebration gathers the old, young and even children to a placewhere the ceremony takes place every year. In particular, the Irrecha festivity taking place at Hora Harsadi at the resort town of Bishoftu, has uniquely become Oromo-wide religious and cultural event bring together millions of people from all corners of Oromia and the country.
The Irrecha Arfaasaa (the Autumn Irrecha)
The Irrecha Arfaasaa takes place in May at the hilltop of mountains to mark the end of the dry season and the onset of rainy season. It is performed at the beginning of the autumn season. At the festival people come to gather to give thanks to Waaqa (God) for all the blessings throughout the past and ask for reconciliation, harmony, health, fertility and development for the future. It is the time when the Oromo living in the environs are gathered to pray to the creator, to give them normal and sufficient rain.
The Irreecha Birra, one of the intangible heritages of the country, the Oromo Thanksgiving Day, is going to be celebrated in the presence of a large gathering by Lake Hora-Harsadi in Bishoftu on Sunday.
Irrechaa that has come down from generation to generation has nothing to do with idol worship or some kind of sorcery or witchcraft. It is a thanksgiving occasion for their creator which they perceive in a spirit of common understanding