Wed. Jun 12th, 2024

Irreechaa festival for peace, forgiveness

 Irreechaa festival for peace, forgiveness
Irreechaa festival for peace, forgiveness

Irreechaa festival is one of the intangible heritages of Ethiopia. The festival is warmly celebrated among the people of Oromo when the rainy season ends with the aim to thank Waaqa (God) for the blessings they have received in the preceding year.

Irreechaa is an annual festival celebrated on the first weekend following the Meskel holiday across the country mainly in all areas of Oromia State. The festival brings millions of people from all walks of life, without religious background, cultural differences or political affiliations from all over Oromia and non-Oromo states, as well as visitors from other parts of Ethiopia and from abroad.

In fact, the festival apart from being a thanksgiving day of the Oromo people and an emblem of their cultural identity, it is also a time of togetherness, forgiveness, peace, and unity is reflected.

The festival will be celebrated this upcoming weekend Saturday and Sunday at Hora Finfinee in the capital Addis Ababa and in the shores of Hora Arsadi in Bishoftu Town respectively warmly and colorfully.

This year’s Irreechaa festival will be celebrated under the theme “Irreechaa is a symbol of peace and brotherhood,” it was learned.

Irreechaa is a symbol of peace and solidarity. It is a sign of forgiveness and togetherness, said Abdulhakim Mulu, Social Affairs Cluster Coordinator at the rank of Vice President of the Oromia National Regional State. Thus, everyone should celebrate the festival in a manner respecting the culture of others and in a way that emphasizes Ethiopianism. The Vice President said this at an opening ceremony of the Irreechaa Festival Exhibition and bazaar at the Oromia Cultural Center.

Mentioning that various activities have been ongoing to celebrate the festival he said that in the earlier times in relation to the Oromia Tourism Week, extensive works that help to develop the tourism sector were being done.

The Irreechaa exhibition and the bazaar, which is designed to help the next generation to preserve its own culture and promote its values, will help the next generation to know the culture by displaying Oromo clothing and materials.

What is more, the exhibition and bazaar has created an opportunity to see the attractive and wonderful utensils, cultural materials and various tools that were used by our forefathers and foremothers during the heroic times, Abdulhakim remarked.

 According to him, the bazaar and exhibition focused on informing the current generation about the history of the past generation who uphold Ethiopianism through promoting the culture.

Oromia Culture and Tourism Bureau Head Hussien Berisso on his part said that the Irreechaa festival will be celebrated at home and abroad.

“All of us who are attending the festival should carry only the flag of peace and Aba Gadaa’s. On the occasion, carrying flags that will reflect the ideology of any political party is not acceptable,” he underlined.

Meanwhile, Aba Gadaas are urged to play role in preparing the participants of the Irreechaa festival for the success of the peace agenda.

Culture and History Director with Oromo Culture at the Oromo Culture and Tourism, Alemayheu Haile, told EPA that Irreechaa is the core and the largest of the many institutions in the Geda system. Irreechaa is a thanksgiving day and it is a festival where the Oromo people go out en masse to the public space to thank God. Thus, in order to achieve the great agenda of peace held at the national level, Aba Gadaas are required to prepare the audiences of the festival for peace.

At the Irreechaa festival, Aba Gadaas deliver speeches and give blessings. And the people, more than what a political leader says, give due attention to the speeches and blessings given by Aba gedas. Most importantly, going beyond giving due attention, do what is said accordingly. The people, without a shadow of doubt, will apply the notions made by cultural leaders, especially in connection to peace. In this regard it is expected that Aba gedas will play their part for the success of the peace, he remarked.

In essence, it would be feasible for political leaders to use influential traditional leaders to make the peace effort a success. By using Aba gedas, tribal leaders, and others it is possible decisive works in order to bring peace, Alemayehu added.

According to Alemayehu, through using communities’ good values like Irreechaa, it is possible to compensate the injured, punish the evil doer, and to reconcile the wronged.

It is also possible to improve the situation by creating a sense of belongingness, correcting the wrong acts and enhancing considerateness and making each other think of one another.

This type of Irreechaa’s great value is also available in other areas’ cultures too, embracing the values and realizing this big plan [peace] a success is everyone’s responsibility. Preparing oneself for peace in the face of the Creator is also a timeless duty, he added.

In order for the peace agenda to be successful, it is wise to raise awareness of Aba gedas to stick to the truth and work based on it. However, he said that, after the people gave due attention to what the Aba gedas have said and agreed to act in accordance to, conspiring something else behind the scene will be considered as treason.

Restraining from any evil act and embracing the extended hand for peace is important. Stopping killing one another and allowing children to go to school without any fear is necessary, he added.

Alemayheu said that creating peace is not only the responsibility of a single party. Rather it is a promise reached between the offender and the victim, so the agreement of both the offender and the victim is important. Realizing national reconciliation and peace is possible only in this way.

“In this regard, the festival of Irreechaa is a day for forgiveness, reconciliation and peace. Thus, reconciliation and forgiveness should not be done only with the Creator, but also with each other. We have come to a peace agreement. The core principle of Irreechaa is also peace, forgiveness, reconciliation and peace”, the researcher underscored.


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