Thousands of Oromo and other celebrants marched in procession to Hora/Lake Gafarsaa during the morning hours of Sunday, October 8, 2017, to thank Waaqa (The Almighty/The Creator) for the transition from the rainy and gloomy Winter season to the bright and bountiful Spring season. Hora Gafarsaa is located in Buraayyuu, a city located just 10km outside of the capital, Finfinne (Addis Ababa), Oromia. This particular Oromo Thanksgiving holiday is called Irreecha Malkaa Ateetee; it’s the second biggest Irreecha celebration held in the Spring season – next to the one in Bishoftu, and it comes a week after Bishoftu’s grand Irreecha celebration.
During Irreecha, celebrants use the space to express political and nationalist speeches due to the suppression of such speeches elsewhere. Such speeches include holding and decorating in the OLF’s flag (the colors of “red-green-red”), which has, over time, become a symbol of Oromummaa (Oromo nationalism). Some celebrants also show the sign of the #OromoProtests, i.e. arms crossed over one’s head. The other combination of colors popular at Irreecha is “black-red-white” – which represents the UNESCO-recognized Oromo Gadaa system of governance; the Irreecha holiday was also recognized by UNESCO in 2016 as an element of the Gadaa system. At this year’s event, funds were collected for the relief and rehabilitation efforts of the displaced people in the Oromia-Somalia border crisis.
Here are some photos from today’s Irreecha Malkaa Ateetee in Buraayyuu; all curated from Social Media.