Irreecha, a religious holiday in the traditions of ethnic Oromo religious tradition, Waqe Fena, was on Saturday celebrated in Bishoftu ( where the religious ritual was mostly celebrated before it was introduced to the capital Addis Ababa in the past three years) and Addis Ababa.
The celebration in Addis Ababa ( Hore-Finfine as the followers of the religious tradition call it) also attracted millions of people from Ethnic Oromo areas of Ethiopia.
Ethiopians from other ethnic groups have cheered the faithful of the Waqe Fena religious tradition.
The celebration is composed of cultural dancing and singing. On the religious side, a ritual takes place in a tradition similar to other animist religions. The followers hold freshly cut grass and made a procession to water bodies to touch the water and sprinkle it as a gesture of praise to Waqa.
The faithful of the religion describe the whole of Irreecha as a “Thanksgiving holiday” whereby the faithful offer praise to God (Waqe ) for ending the rainy season and ushering them to the new year ( Ethiopian New Year falls on September 11).
Many Ethiopians outside of ethnic Oromo are becoming familiar with Irreecha; they have even started celebrating it wearing ethnic Oromo cultural dresses.
Yet, there are also noticeable voices, as observed on social media, that tend to think that Irreecha is politicized, especially after it was brought to Addis Ababa a few years ago, and that sounds like a state religion now.
Government special support (from three levels of the government) to Irreecha has been noticeable in the past three years.
Several Ethiopian authorities have conveyed the best wish messages on the occasion of the Holiday.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed himself wrote a long letter to express his wish to those who celebrate it. In his message, he attempted to explain the significance of Irreecha.
As is the case with other open-air religious festivals ( in the Christian and Islamic traditions), the government made security arrangements to ensure that the holiday is celebrated peacefully.
Police on Sunday said the celebration was peaceful and that millions of people have participated in the Bishoftu ( Debre Zeit) and Addis Ababa.
At this point, there is no reported violence in connection with Irreecha – at least in Addis Ababa and Bishoftu ( Debre Zeit).
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