Facts about the Oromo and Oromia of East Africa

NAME:

The people call themselves Oromo, and prefer to be called so.

LANGUAGE:

Oromiffa (Afaan Oromo)

RELIGION:

Waaqeffannaa (Traditional religion), Islam, and Christian. Waaqaa, the Creator, is God of the traditional religion. Ayanas are the saint like divinities. Many Oromos practice the traditional religion parallel with Islam or Christianity.

MAIN DISHES:

Buddena (Biddena) with Itto, Cumbboo, Kashii, Caccaabsaa, Marqaa, Mooqa, Bunaqalaa, Cuukkoo, Mullu or Shuumoo, Basso or Bacho.

AGRICULTURE:

Wheat, Barley, Xaafi, and various agricultural products including Coffee that grows wild in some areas.

NATURAL RESOURCES:

Gold, Platinum, Sulphur, Iron, Silver, etc.

MAJOR CITIES:

Finfinne (Addis Ababa), Dirre Dhawa, Adaama (Nazreth), Jimma, Dassie, etc.

AREA:

600 000 Sq Km, about the total size of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tenessee, and Alabama, or about twice the size of Italy.

CLIMATE:

Mild on higher altitudes, warm and wet to the west, warm and dry to the east.

POPULATION:

About 45 million

ORIGIN:

The Oromo are Cushitic (Kushitic) people who live in the east African region known as the horn of Africa since ancient times.

ATTRACTIONS:

Sodere near Adama (Nazreth), and Sof-Omar in Ballie (about ten miles long natural tunnel) are special attractions. Exotic birds of the rift valley, hot springs, ancient places like Harlaa near Dire Dhawa are also some of the points of interest. Oromia offers splendid climate and diversified landscape.

GEOGRAPHICAL LANDMARKS:

Oromia is located in the horn of Africa, Ethiopia, between about 2O and 12O N, 34O and 44O E. The landscape varies from rugged mountain ranges in the center and the north, to flat grassland to the south east.

CUSTOMS, FOLKLORE, HEROES

MAJOR SPORTS:

Wal’aanso (Wrestling), Gugsa (Horse riding), Utaalchoo (Jumping), Gombisa (aiming and throwing twigs at each other), and Soccer.

HEROES:

Wadaay Hubataa, Buubaa Bal’aa, Caammaa Nuur, Elemo Qilxu, Taddasa Birru, Faxansaa Iluu, Daannoo Beeraa, and Abebe Bikila (athlet), Baaroo Tumsaa, Laggasaa Wagii, Abdiisaa Agaa, Hayilamaariyaam Gammadaa, Nadhii Gammadaa, Nagaasaa Kumsaa, Alamuu Qixxeessaa, Baqqalaa Nadhii, Gaaddisaa Hirphasaa, Dirribee Jifaar, Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa, etc.

UNIQUE FACTS:

SOCIO-POLITICAL SYSTEM:

Gadaa – Traditional, highly developed democratic system based on age-group with defined role. It is similar to the Grecian Polis. Elected officials assume public office for non-renewable 8 year terms. Similar civilizations have been recorded in China, Maya, and Hindu.

CALENDAR:

The Oromos have developed their own unique calendar based on lunar and solar cycles. Day time begins and ends with the rise and setting of the sun. Days of the month are given names.

MARRIAGE:

Marriage is with a non-relative. Relatives are those whose seven or less ancestors converge. For this reason an Oromo typically can trace at least seven of her/his for-fathers. Some can trace more than seventeen.

HISTORICAL FACTS AND EVENTS (dates are approximate):

Home of most of the oldest fossils: Homo Sapiens from Arba, Omo, and Bodo; Homo erectus from Malka Kunture; Homo habilis from Awash, and the oldest (austalopithecus afarensis) fossils from middle Awash. Host of pioneering human achievements such as the earliest pebble tools (circa 70,000 B.C.), domestication of animals (circa 5000 B.C.). Regional trades in antiquity in gold, ivory, myrrh, etc. with Pharaonic Egypt, Greece, Rome and Persia. Oromia of the upper Nile was at times referred to as Punt, Cush (Kush), or Ethiopia. With universal male training in warfare, the Oromo remained independent until the last decade of the 19th century.

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