Irreechaa – Oromo religious holiday welcomed a new Abba Geda

Irreechaa for “Love and Unity” concluded peacefully as per state media report

Ireecha 2018 _ Hora Arsidi
Ireecha celebration at Hora Arsidi, Debrezeit
Photo : EBC

borkena
September 30,2018

Irreechaa, an ethnic Oromo religious holiday, is celebrated today in lake Hora Harsadi, in Debre Zeit (Bishoftu) which is located about 44 kilometers south east of the capital Addis Ababa.

Faithful Oromos describe it as “Thanks Giving Day” – a day when the followers of Oromo traditional faith praise Waaqayyoo (God) for the blessings though out the year. The season which started on September 11 marked the end of rainy and cloudy months.

The procession started as early as 4 a.m. local and is completed after several hours of processions. Faithful followers of the religion hold freshly cut grass through out the procession and throw it to lake as an expression the “thanks giving.” More pious ones apply unsalted fresh butter to the bark of a tree and spread it.

Millions of followers of the traditional Oromo religion, which is neither Islam or Christian faith, and observers from other religious and ethnic background has attended the ceremony.

This year, motto of the celebration was “Ireecha for Love and Unity,” – a message that perhaps underscore serious challenges in the country.

Unlike the celebrations in the past few years, today’s celebration was reportedly not political in nature as participants in the religious procession which ends up in lake Hora Arsidi avoided carrying and/or featuring political messages. Some, including Minnesota based radical Oromo ethno-nationalist, Jawar Ahmed, have found a way to feature the flags of the radical Oromo Liberation Front (flag) but no trouble was reported.

A day before the holiday, Lemma Megersa, president of Oromo regional state, called on for an apolitical celebration as there was, apparently, a concern that the celebration could be marred by violence.

Ethiopian state media, Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation, reported today that the religious celebration is concluded peacefully without any incident.

Another remarkable event in this years’ Ireecha is a transfer of “Abba Geda” power which is an eight years term to a new Abba Geda, Gobena Holla Erreso. Abba Geda is a title for Oromo traditional leader (overseeing socio-political matters).

Beyene Senbeto_Gobena Holla Erreso
Aba Gedda Beyene Senbeto greeting the new Abba Geda
Photo : EBC

The outgoing Abba Geda, Beyene Senbeto, embraced the incoming one, who will be serving for the next eight years.



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