Efforts Need to be Exerted To Promote Irreechaa Festival, its Importance for Tourism: Participants

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Addis Ababa October 1/2015 /ENA/ Participants at the Irreechaa festival said that more should be done to promote the festival and increase its importance for tourism.

The Irreechaa festival was celebrated in Addis Ababa, Hora Finfine and participants from different areas attended the event.

The participants, who dressed up with unique attires and came from different areas graced the festival with different types of dances.  

In addition to Oromo people, participants from various ethnic groups including Gamo, Wolaita, Halaba, Sidama were drawn to  the festival.

Participants approached by ENA said that Irreechaa festival which is a part of the Gada system calls for more efforts to promote the festival and exploit its tourism potentials.

They also expressed their views that the festival be widely promoted in Africa and the world to draw tourists to the festival.

 Artist Garuma Hunde on his part said that making the place where the festival is celebrated comfortable for visitors is one aspect of attracting tourists.

Apart from celebrating the festival, it is important to promote it in a better way by showcasing fairs and the ancient values ​​of the Oromo people.

Artist Garuma, who stated that the Irreechaa festival in Addis Ababa is becoming a good source of income for citizens engaged in the hotel and business sector, emphasized that more should be done to make more use of the festival’s legacy.

Samuel Yigezu who was also at the festival for the first time from Addis Ababa, said: “I am very  happy with what I see. This kind of unique culture is the pride of Africa beyond Ethiopia.”

He underscored that focus need to be given to do one’s homework towards promoting and celebrating the festival by all Africans, beyond Ethiopians.

 Daghbo Dale who is from West Arsi Zone of Oromia Region on his part said that it is necessary to create awareness about the festival as it shares common values with similar cultures of Ethiopians.

The festival has a special aspect as it is a place where ethnic groups come together in their own colors and exchange culture, he said, adding that “it is our share to make this bright festival known at the international level.”

According to the Oromo tradition, Irreechaa means ‘green and fresh grass’ that symbolizes fertility and flourishing life due to the blessing and guidance of the Creator, Waaqaa.

People gather around river banks and lakesides to pay homage to Waqaa (God) for passing the rainy season and bring the sunny season.

People come out with colorful traditional outfits and march to water bodies to get blessed by the Aba Gadas.

Locals dress in traditional costumes and observe Irreecha with dancing, singing, and getting together with relatives.

A big part of the celebration involves going to the lakes around Oromia region and placing cut grass and flowers in the water to give thanks to Waaqa (the local name for God) for good fortune and prosperity over the coming year.

Irreechaa is celebrated all over Oromia. However, the biggest celebration takes place in Addis Ababa ( Hora Finfine) and Bishoftu town, Oromia Region about 44km outside of Addis Ababa.