Addis Ababa September 28/2018 The Irrecha festival that takes place at the end of this month is a “gateway to happiness and bright days for the Oromo”, according to historians. For the Oromo, Irrecha is a thanksgiving day to Waaqa (God) for ending the rainy season and ushering in the brighter and sunny days.
In an exclusive interview with ENA, the history professor Tessema Ta’a of Addis Ababa University said Irrecha festival is the part and parcel of the Geda system.
According to him, “the Irrecha ceremony takes place when the rainy season subsides and the sky is clear. The people thank God for helping them come out of the dark rainy season.”
When the rains go, the rivers subside and allow people to cross and meet one another. So they greet one another and express their joy and happiness, the professor elaborated.
Professor Tessema noted that “Irrecha is one of the meeting places where the elders, the youth and children meet to express their happiness and thank God.
“I think this practice and principle of Irrecha associated with the Geda system has to be registered as a strong cultural heritage of the Oromo by UNESCO”, he underlined.
“Cultural heritages are documented and registered by UNESCO for posterity and the benefit of human kind,” the professor said, adding that “all of us to have work towards that and encourage the youth to know the indigenous system.”
“If they know their indigenous system they would understand the working system of the modern world very easily. They can easily transmit it. So, I think one has to know from where he has come? And where he is? And where he will be going?”, the historian expounded.
Professor Tessema pointed out that “Irrecha is not political. It is a time to seek social harmony, peaceful understanding, and giving thanks to Waaqa; and that has to be extremely peaceful and free from harassment.”
Speaking about the importance of Geda system to which Irrecha belongs, the professor noted that it has to be promoted as it is a world heritage in the first place.
“Geda is a compressive system,” Professor Tessema said, adding that the government has to understand that it is one of the most important elements in peace making and conflict resolution.
The historical and cultural aspects of Geda system are important for unity, integrity, and tolerance, and accommodate other members of humanity other than Oromos.
Author and Oromo historian Dirribi Demmise said Irrecha has value among Oromo communities in bringing unity, solidarity and reconciliation.
“Before they go to the rivers, they reconcile and make peace. It is a day of happiness among the Oromo communities. It is a day of peace and reconciliation with nature, God and the people, too” he stressed.
Furthermore, it also create opportunity to pray to God to make the year productive, children and cattle healthy, and people become prosperous and lead long life.
Dirribi said “Irrecha festival is where Oromos gather to sing, thank God with no gender and age difference. Everybody has equal right and respect to enjoy the unity.”
Describing the inscription of the Geda system as intangible cultural heritage a great opportunity in promoting the Irrecha, he said “I hope Irrecha festival will also be recognized by UNESCO within a short period of time.”