September 20, 2019
Oromo Regional state of Ethiopia acting president, Shimeles Abdissa, has issued a statement regarding Oromo traditional religious festival Irreecha.
According to a report by state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC), he said that celebrating Irreechaa, which is said to be a thanksgiving festival, for Oromo with “nations and nationalities of Ethiopia” is an hour and a victory.
What makes this year’s celebration special, in his words, is that the festival will be celebrated in Addis Ababa apart from Hora Arsidi lake in Bishoftu (Debre Zeit).
Addis Ababa is the most multi-ethnic city in the country. The number of ethnic Oromo population in the city is said to be less than 10 percent.
Shimeles Abdissa’s view about the celebration of Irreecha in the capital Addis Ababa aligns very well with radical ethnic Oromo nationalists; “The celebration in Finefine was discontinued for over a hundred years.”
From the perspective of these radical groups, worship of the traditional religion (it is not in alignment with any of the Abrahamic religions including Islam) in “Finefine” was discontinued due to emperor Menelik’s policy.
Shimeles called on for “Ethiopian nations and nationalities to celebrate what he called “a holiday of peace and love – Irrecha” dressed in their cultural attires. As well, he called on people and youth group to play their part for the peaceful celebration of the festival.
The regional government, apparently with support from the Federal government, is taking measures to create social value for the festival. It is adopting the “great Ethiopian Run” concept and organizing an Irreecha street run program this coming Sunday in the capital Addis Ababa. Authorities expect about 50,000 participants in the road race whose start and endpoint are at Meskel square.
Meanwhile, Oromo regional police have disclosed that it is making preparations to ensure that the holiday is celebrated peacefully.
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