TEN Facts about Irreechaa

OROMIA – OCTOBER 02: Oromos wearing traditional clothes attend a celebratory event on the occasion of the thanksgiving feast called “Irreecha” at the Hora Finfinne park in Finfinne, Oromia on October 02, 2021. ( Minasse Wondimu Hailu – Anadolu Agency )
  1. Irreechaa also called Irreessa, is a thanksgiving holiday of the  Oromo people in Oromia. The Oromo people celebrate Irreecha to thank God for the blessings and mercies they have received throughout the previous year.
  2. Irreechaa events take place twice a year: Irreechaa Birraa and Irreecha Arfaasaa. While Irreechaa Birraa celebrated in the end of September or beginning of October and Irreecha Arfaasaa celebrated in the end of May or beginning of June. The main celebration of Irreecha is in October coincides with the end of the summer rainy season.
  3. The festival is usually held in Bishoftu, a town located in the Oromia region, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of Finfinne, Oromia. In recent years, it has been celebrated in Finfinne at Meskel Square and other cities around Oromia.
  4. The celebration is a chance for people to wear different traditional costume from all over Oromia. The beadwork, known as callee, many women are wearing on their foreheads is common to all Oromos. Most men wear headscarves, known as ruufa and they are worn at any major celebration.
  5. During Irreechaa millions of Oromo gather and give thanks to God and ask for peace, the development of mind and body, togetherness or harmony, and reconciliation. They also pay respect to the previous generations of Oromos who endured the odds and helped this colorful celebration sustain from generations to generations.
  6. Irreechaa constitutes one of the several re­ligious and cultural practices defining the hallmark of the entire Oromo life. It has promoted and enhanced understanding and unity among the Oromo. It has helped build their common values and shared visions, and consolidated peace (Nagaa Oromo), tolerance and resilience. 
  7. 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.
  8. Irreechaa is considered as a festival that signifies unity, harmony, togetherness and coexistence among communities in the country. The attendees of the festival thank God for good harvest, and soil fertility and livestock health and primarily for peace. Men, women and children are celebrating the festival by singing and chanting to praise their God attired with traditional costumes.
  9. The Oromo people consider the winter rainy season of June to September as the time of difficulty. The heavy rain brings with it lots of things like floods that may drown people, cattle, crop, and homes. Also, family relationship will severe during winter rain as they can’t visit each other. In addition, winter time could be a time of hunger for some because of the fact that previous harvest collected in January is running short and new harvest is not ripe yet. Because of this, some families may endure food shortages during the winter.
  10. Irreechaa was established by Oromo forefathers, in the time of Gadaa Melbaa in Oromia. The Day of Gadaa Melbaa – was established on the Sunday of last week of September or the Sunday of the 1st week of October according to the Gadaa lunar calendar has been designated as National Thanksgiving Day by modern-day Oromo People.
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