Oromia: More than 500 Dead after Security Forces Fire into Crowd

(Irreechaa,  4 October 2016) In response to actions by Ethiopian security forces leading to the death of more than 500 people attending the Irreechaa religious and cultural celebration in the Bishoftu town in Oromia on October 2.

The deaths in Bishoftu occurred because security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition at a crowd of over a million people celebrating a religious occasion.

In Irreechaa women dress in white garment and hold stick with green grass to symbolize Peace and prosperity. It is really aching to see when the Tigray Military regime confront these peace loving people with gun simply because they are being Oromo. It is painful and agonizing when their white cultural dress soaked with blood.

The Quest of Balance 

Let’s not forget Tigrain when they invaded us from North, their only mission is to take our land and life. Their goal is to exterminate us and enrich their generation at the expense of our precious children. When we face them at least the level of our struggle should be balanced with them. To make it balance our struggle with the Tigray military regime, let’s work on our deficiency.

Human rights organisations urge the government of Ethiopia should allow a truly independent body to investigate the tragedy at Bishoftu as well as security forces’ well-documented record of using excessive force against peaceful gatherings.

Background

Irreechaa is an annual holiday for giving thanks, celebrated by the Oromo, Ethiopia’s  largest people. While firm numbers remain unavailable, eyewitnesses say that the total number of deaths on October 2 may exceed 500.

 

Irreechaa 2016: A Year of Sacrifice

#Irreechaa2016-Irreechaa -Thanksgiving, forgiving and forward looking expression day for Oromo.

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It is with great pleasure that to invite you to the annual Irreecha Birraa festival, Oromo National Thanksgiving day, of the year on Sunday 2 October 2016.

Irreechaa Birraa is a celebration that repeats once in a year-in birraa and involves special activities or amusements as it has a lot of importance in our lives. It symbolizes the arrival of spring and brighten season with their vibrant green and daisy flowers.

It’s a day all Oromian’s celebrate and cherish due to our ties to our root: Oromo Identity and country. It’s a time for reflection, celebration and a good connection with our best heritage.

Theme: A Year of Sacrifice

This year’s Oromian Irreechaa Festival is going to be bigger and better than ever, with a whole theme park devoted to diverse Oromian cultural Identity. The theme of this national Thanksgiving Day is “A Year of Sacrifice ” in which it aims to celebrate Irreechaa festivals as a medium for bringing all Oromias together to remember those who are paying sacrifice for Oromo freedom and to promote our tradition and religion in society, to create public awareness where Oromo cultural and religious issues will be discussed, to provide a better understanding of Oromo culture and history, to pave the way for promotion of the Oromo culture, history and lifestyle and to celebrate Oromo Irreechaa, a national Thanksgiving Day.

Irreechaa: a moment of performing home in exile

According to Tsegaye Ararssa, Irreechaa means a moment of performing home in exile. “For the Oromo Diaspora the Irreechaa moment is a moment of performing home in exile. It is a longing for home. As such, it’s a site of struggle, a site of the agon, a site of imagining home. it is a way of homecoming. It’s a way of becoming what we would have been. Irreechaa is a moment of re-enacting life in its fullness, in all its colors and brilliance, and in its infinite beauty as a treasure. It is a celebration of vitality and life in the past, the present, and the future. Above all, it’s thanksgiving. Even in the midst of the festivity, it is a moment of thinking (thinking as thanking), and a reminder of the need for a grateful reflection as a way of life.”
https://advocacy4oromia.org/…/what-does-irreechaa-mean-to-…/

The event and its celebration is a symbol of unity in which various organisations and groups come together not only to celebrate but also to initiate and to work together as a team.

CORA Announces the 2016 Irreechaa Holiday Schedule

The Committee for Oromummaa Renaissance and Advancement announces the tentative 2016 Global Irreechaa Birraa schedule for public awareness and festivities.

Irreechaa BannerAccording to this year study by CORA (the Committee for Oromummaa Renaissance and Advancement) based in Australia, the 2016 Oromian Irreechaa Festival is running  from September 04, 2016 through October 02, 2016.

This national festival is a spectacular show of Oromo cultural, historical and natural beautification in their full glory at the height of the season.

“It has spawned somewhat of a science of knowing just when the blooms will peak and decline, depending on the wind, rain, and sunshine they get,” CORA says.

Five Weeks of Festivities

The Oromo Irreechaa Holiday will offer five weeks of festivities for local and international participants alike. From opening week on Sunday, September 4, 2016 until the closing ceremonies on Sunday, October 2, 2016, weekend days will be filled with different shows and activities, including blessing ceremonies for offspring and girls, youth dances and music, media orientations, public awareness meetings, and Irreechaa celebrations.

Irreechaa 2 IrreechaaOne of the highlights of the event is the Awareness Creation Meeting – from the beginning of September to the day of Irreechaa through various methods, such as meeting, singing, and firewood ceremony.

The day of the Irreechaa begins as the colorfully dressed attendees start to assemble holding Irreessaa (fresh, green grass) and Keelloo (daisy) blossom.

Once a sizable number of people are gathered at a common location, a cheerful group of young people take the lead by enthusiastically singing traditional songs and hymns in turns.

After a spectacular and heart-warming cultural display by the energetic youth, organizers announce that it is time to head to Malkaa (the ford) or Horaa (spring water), Tulluu (mountain), where the Irreechaa will be held.

Then, the elders and spiritual leaders take over to wrap up the sacred aspects of Irreechaa celebration with praises, prayers, and blessings. Visitors enjoy walking together under a sycamore (Odaa) tree and pray for greater reconciliation, peace, finnaa (holistic development), and harmony.

Historical Evidences

Hora Lake of ( Bishftu) Deber'zeyet 1903

This historical Irreechaa celebration was captured 113 years ago- 1903 at Lake Hora, Bishoftu town. Irreechaa is one of the indigenous Oromo culture by which Oromos are getting together to thank their Creator called Waaqaa or God for the reason that He helped them to turn a year.

For a reason that God or Waaqaa transferred them from the rainy and difficult season to a shiny and enjoyable season Oromos are getting together and give their thanks for the Great Lord I .e. Waaqaa or God.

It was then banned and the banning era was ended with the fall down of Mengistu’s regime in 1991

The grandest ceremony is the holiday of the Irreechaa at Hora Harsadii, Bishooftuu, Oromia. This popular enlightening event has been honored extensively by different local and international media and summarized as the “Great Cultural, Historical and Natural Harmony Show to See Before You Die”, and recognized as “the Best Springtime Festival in Oromia.”

The Oromo lrreechaa holiday provides a multitude of amazing creations to explore, as talented artists create in their favorite medium – the cultural dress!

Don’t forget your camera to capture these unique and fantastic cultural celebration.

Melbourne Oromo celebrates Oromo Good Spirit Day at Mount Dandenong

(Advocacy4oromia, Melbourne, 30 June 2016) The Oromo Irreecha Arfaasaa festival, held on 30 June 2016  for the second time in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia at Mount Dandenong.

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The ceremony was celebrated at Mount Dandenong to promote the Oromo Good Spirit tradition of respect for nature and gratefulness for life.

It was celebrated under the theme of “Moving Forward: Restoring the Good Spirit of Humanity” in which it aimed to celebrate Irreechaa festivals to follow our tradition and religion in society, to create public awareness where Oromo cultural and religious issues was discussed.

According to the organisers the festival was designed to provide a better understanding of Oromo culture, history and humanity, to pave the way for promotion of the Oromo culture, history, and lifestyle.

The Celebration of Irreechaa Arfaasaa, a national Spirit Day, is held yearly both to thank Waaqaa for the blessings and mercies we have received throughout the past year and to welcome the new rainy season associated with hard working, challenging and respect for mother earth for caring and sharing.

The ceremony honoured the Oromo elders’ blessings and wisdom, and eventually helped to preserve the heritage and strengthen the progress of humanity.

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Purpose and Meaning

Irreecha Arfaasaa is another annual Oromo Thanksgiving Day that repeats once in May to mark the end of the dry season and beginning of the rainy and planting season. It marks the end of the dry season (October to April) and the beginning of the rainy season for planting (May to September). It is a unique Oromo cultural, historical and natural beautification (planting) in their full glory at the height of the season.

On this day, people come to gather on mountain tops to give thanks to the almighty Waaqaa(God) for all the blessings throughout the past dry season and ask for Araaraa(Reconciliation), Nagaa (Peace), Walooma (Harmony) and Finnaa (Holistic Development) for the present and the future. There is also a ceremony of thanking all forebears for their endurance and determination to survive their culture and history – paving the way for further social victory. Irreecha Arfaasaa has been observed by the Oromo people for more than 6400 years.

Melbourne Oromo celebrates Irreechaa

Melbourne Oromo celebrates Oromo Thanksgiving Day  on Sunday 4 October 2015 at Wilson Botanical Park.

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Irreechaa festival is certainly fun for the kids, but more importantly, it gives them a real understanding and appreciation of the Oromian culture. The decorations definitely signified Oromian diversity.
That’s how exiled Oromo in Melbourne see the local manifestation of one of their homeland’s biggest celebrations. So it is with Irreechaa 2015: The 6409th annual Oromo Irreechaa Festival.

Organisers  would like for displaced Oromo people to have that same kind of experience that they would have at home.

“The basic thing about this is that we can feel like we’re back in our hometown in Oromia,” committee member Abdeta Homa said.

Victoria Multicultural Commission Chairperson Helen Kapalos was delighted to attend the Irreechaa Birra annual thanksgiving celebration for the Oromo people of Victoria.

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Many Oromo believe that it is also a way to share a bit of Oromia with others.

Irreechaa festival began in the 2007 in Melbourne by few community members.

Irreechaa festival is one of the ancient Cushitic Civilization of Northeastern Africa – dating back more than 6000 years.

Melbourne celebrated Irreechaa

The Oromo Community in Melbourne celebrated Irreechaa last Sunday on the 4th of Oct 2015.
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Irreechaa is branched into two seasons, Irreechaa Arfaasaa and Irreechaa Birraa. The former celebrates the end of the dry season on the top of a hill or mountain while the latter celebrates the end of the wet season at a lake, river or sea.

Traditionally the day is celebrated by the Oromo people every year and it is a form of thanks giving to Waaqa (God) for helping them pass from the darkness of winter to the bright and blooming season of Spring.

During the ceremony, people of all ages carry a bundle of fresh grass and dip it in a lake, river or sea. The grass represents life, fertility and prosperity. The lake represents life and the calm beauty of nature.

Irreechaa has been observed by the Oromo people for more than 6400 years and here in Melbourne, it is not something that is religious-orientated or to diminish other religions, but an event to celebrate togetherness and joy with people from all walks of life.

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