Despite concerns over this year’s Irrecha celebration, Oromo’s thanks-giving festival, the deputy mayor of Bishoftu town, where the celebration takes place, stated that preparations have been finalized to colorfully celebrate the festival. Last year more than 52 participants of the ceremony were killed in a stampede, which latter caused massive protest against the government. On its part, the government stated that the stampede was caused by anit-peace forces, several outlawed opposition groups of Ethiopia.
The deputy Mayor of the town, Dr. Alemu Gonfa, quoted by the Ethiopian News agency as saying “extensive activities have been carried out as a preparation to ensure safety of people who attended the festival.”
Last year’s celebration saw a regrettable incident in which more than 50 persons lost their life while others sustained injuries mainly from falling into deep ditches due to a stampede.
As it is important to make the area where the celebration takes place safe, the town’s administration has made all the necessary preparations including filling the ditches surrounding the area of celebration.
“This year, we are undertaking a special preparation. Previously, Irrecha was celebrated in the ordinary setting. But this year, the venue has been renovated that includes even more greenery.”
Traditionally, the Oromo practices Irrecha as a thanksgiving celebration twice a year (in autumn and spring) to praise Waaqa (God) for peace, health, fertility and abundance they have gained.
The autumn ritual takes place every year in Bishoftu at Lake Horsede to celebrate the end of the rainy season either at the end of September or beginning of October.
The other festival takes in May at the top of mountains to mark the end of the dry season and the onset of rainy season.
The mayor noted that this year’s celebration is special as large number of tourists from here and abroad are expected to converge on the processions.
So, all preparations are made to avert every possible risk and irregularity, he said.
“Areas that could have been spots for accident have been identified; filling ditches and other activities were undertaken to make the area comfortable for the people who will attend the festival. By now, we are already completed the project.”.
ENA reporter who observed the overall preparation saw that ditches are already filled, more greenery added, and pavements are cleared and built with cobblestones.
Hotels, restaurants and various service providers in the town are ready to host their guests from different corners of the country.
This year’s festival is expected to be celebrated in the presence of huge crowed from across the country at Lake Horsede in the town of Bishoftu some 25kms to the south of Addis Ababa.