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Ethiopian gov’t closed 14 Major Roads in Addis Ababa for Oromo Religious Festival: Ireecha

Ireecha -Addis Ababa _ Ethiopia
Ireecha celebration in Addis Ababa ( Source : The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa)


Addis Ababa Police announced on Friday the closure of roads in the capital for the ethnic Oromo religious holiday, Irreecha, now branded as”Thanksgiving Day.”

The road closures became effective this Friday, and extensive security measures have been put in place.

Fourteen major roads in the capital, Addis Ababa, have been designated for closure.

City attractions in Addis Ababa, including Addis Ababa itself, have been adorned with what Oromo nationalist politicians describe as the “Geda Flag,” featuring a tricolor of black, red, and white, reminiscent of Egyptian flags.

The festival has taken center stage in state media outlets for several days now. It appears that the Wake Fena religious festival has been structured to span three days, with celebrations scheduled for Saturday and Sunday this week.

Police have announced that the road closures in the capital will be lifted once the celebration concludes, on Monday.

Irreecha is a religious practice within the traditional Oromo faith known as Wake Fena, falling outside the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism) and belonging to the realm of traditional animist faiths. It is traditionally celebrated near bodies of water. Historically, it was celebrated in Debre Zeit (now renamed as Bishoftu) on the shores of Lake Hora. Given the absence of a natural lake in Addis Ababa, an artificial one is created. The religious practice in Addis Ababa, where more than 70 percent of the population is non-Oromo, has raised questions about its political implications.

Some critics argue that the Ethiopian government is attempting to impose Irreecha on Ethiopians branding it as Oromo culture and thanksgiving day. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has conveyed a message for the holiday, framing Irreecha as a “Thanksgiving” holiday, a description recognized by the United States government.

In contrast to the restrictions imposed during this year’s Meskel festival, which included bans on wearing Ethiopian colors and limiting the number of participants in Meskel Square, Irreecha seems to be receiving preferential treatment. The government is even providing transport facilities for those coming to the capital to celebrate Irrecha, leading some to interpret this as a clear government motive to promote Irrecha as a dominant event, potentially overshadowing other religious holidays like Meskel.

The U.S. government seems to have been working to weaken core Ethiopian values and cultures, similar to its efforts in other countries, through avenues such as Hollywood movies and various “development programs.”  The culture of the Ethiopian entertainment industry and the media culture itself are now mostly modeled after those existing in the United States. 


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  1. “The U.S. government seems to have been working to weaken core Ethiopian values and cultures, similar to its efforts in other countries, through avenues such as Hollywood movies and various “development programs.” Not posted by Borkena editors


    U.S. Embassy Addis (@USEmbassyAddis)

    Keep on crying; Addis Ababa belongs to Oromiya. You were cheering when Abiy won the noble prize, and you called him an Amhara man? What has happened to you (Borkena Editors) now? Are you feeling under the weather?

  2. Irreecha is a festival that belongs to all of us. Oromos are either Muslims or Christians and never wavered from these two religions when they celebrate this Thanksgiving Day. The same goes to our Amhara brothers and sisters. They are also Muslims or Christians and still remain devout to these two religions when they celebrate traditional festivities. I don’t blame some of you if you don’t feel comfortable about this celebration because it has been used to accost you with it by bigoted individuals among my own ethnic group. One of such bigots has the audacity to tell the American audience that Oromos including me are neither Muslims nor Christians. I can tell you this about this blabber mouth. He would never say that to my face in person or any Oromo in the old country. Apparently there is financial motives for him saying that! Back there in Bishoftu everyone goes back to his mosque or church after this celebration is over. Just like the Thanksgiving Day in the West the celebration would be over the next day.

    Happy Irreecha Thanksgiving y’all!!

  3. Yes we supported Abiey until we discovered his real motive and who he really is – deceiver, killer, divider, destroyer, dictator who is only here to grab power. As of all of us Ethiopians oromos, half promos, non promos, we are just pawns. What did the people of tigray get after 27 years of Tigrian rule. Abiey has no one in his heart. He is deceiving us oromos and such method of rule will not last. People are free to celebrate what they want. Irecha has been celebrated around bishoftu lake for ages…no big deal. The problem comes when you claim something that is not yours….Addis Ababa and when you want to suppress other celebrations like Meskel. Injustice and unfairness is short lived and the non oromo people slaughtered in oromo regions will come back to punish the great deceiver abiey Ahmed Ali. You can cheat some people sometimes, you can cheat some people all the times, but You can not cheat all people all the times. It’s Karma baby. The universal law. Mengistu hailemariam celebrated all sorts of days, meskerem 2, Workers party day. And huge fireworks..what is good if people are killed, investors are fleeing the country and extereme poverty is rampant. All dictators love celebrations. We are just pawns…

  4. Dandew Serbelo
    Well said. I second you as well. At this point nothing else matters for the masses but to live with a sense of betrayal and disappointment and expect the worest yet to come.


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