Art & CultureNews

Irreechaa Festival Celebration Begins

ADDIS ABABA – The celebration of the Irreechaa, annual Oromo thanksgiving festival, has begun in Addis Ababa.

Irreechaa marks the end of the rainy season and the start of the harvest season with people giving thanks to God (Waaqa) at the beginning of spring (Birraa) after a long dark rainy season.

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On Friday, Addis Ababa hosted the annual Irreechaa Peace Forum, which marked the festival under the title ‘Irreechaa from Articulation of Thanksgiving and Praying to Peace and Unity Building Social Mechanism’.

Outside, many are dancing and singing as they wait for the main event at pools of water nearby Meskel Square, where traditional leaders will dip flowers and sprinkle it over themselves – gestures that symbolizes gratitude and renewal.

The festival will continue in Bishoftu with people getting together and performing their prayers and thanksgiving at Hora Arsedi.

The festival is a place where Oromo people reflect their unity and reconcile, said Shimelis Abdisa, President of Oromia Regional State, while addressing the forum in Addis Ababa on Friday.

It is the innate cultural value of Thanksgiving among the Oromo communities and brings all Oromo people together, Shimelis said during all Oromo people to celebrate this festival in a peaceful manner.

Mayor of Addis Ababa, Adanech Abebie described Irreechaa as the symbol of peace, reconciliation, unity among the Oromo and beyond.

It has an immense contribution for nation building, the mayor said, adding “each of us must play our role to sustain, preserve and pass the values of Irreechaa to the next generation.”

Abiy’s Message

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in his best wishes message, said “Irreechaa is a symbol of transition”.

“It is a celebration of the transition from the rainy season, symbolized as darkness, to brightness; from hatred to love, from enmity to brotherhood, from strife to reconciliation, from vengeance to forgiveness, from evil to good”.

The prime minister said his country is celebrating the festival this year amid hope and challenges.
Abiy likened the challenges with overflowing rivers engulfing strong bridges – a phenomena often makes families separate during rainy seasons.

He said the rivers will eventually subsume as the season changes and the bridge will rise up.
Like bridge, “our bond is made of indestructible values,” said Abiy, adding his country would eventually reverse the tide.

In his message, he urged all Ethiopians to focus on working not only to overcome today’s challenge but also to realize a “prosperous tomorrow”.

The PM also said this year’s Irreechaa is celebrated at a time Ethiopia began a new road to strengthen its democracy, unity, justice system, economic and social fabrics.

– EM/Agencies

Featured Image Caption: Celebrants dipped flowers in water and sprinkled it over themselves, gestures symbolizing gratitude and renewal. [Photo File/Eduardo Soteras/AFP]