Oromo: Irreechaa Celebrated Colorfully In Los Angeles, CA

By Natolii Gadaa

Los Angeles (CA) – This year’s Irreechaa cultural celebration, colorfully celebrated in Los Angeles (LA) for the first time, was hastily put together by two young Oromos in moment’s notice. Despite that fact, it is one of the most electrifying Oromo events I have ever been part. It was one of the most joyful event filled with pride, extremely colorful, and emotional event, never expected, let alone in LA, anywhere Oromos reside. This particular gathering, took place on September 25, 2010, was ‘off the chart’ compared to any Oromo event I had associated with.


I was one of the few Oromos who went to the lake early morning to get the place ready. Unable to resist the temptation to start celebrating, we started chanting, singing, and praying. All of sudden, starting at about 11AM, blissful members of LA’s Oromo Community started streaming down the hill by the small lake, located at the heart of the most beautiful Park in Southern California. At first, I was stunned by the sight and thought I was daydreaming. I have known the majority of these Oromos for years but I could not fathom, and recognize them until they really got close.


These are some of the most seasoned, articulate, educated, successful Oromos I know. I always found them in their business attire, reserved and polite. This time was different. They were dressed in stunning, dazzling, and elaborate cultural costumes. Their facial expressions and body language were as if a picture could tell million stories. There was simply too much to compliment about, but one thing is clear, the Oromo culture and worldview is alive, well and here to stay. Oromos, from all stripes and corner of Oromia, came in unison to give thanks to Waaqa, including Muslims, Christians and Waaqefatas, taking part in what is truly a long standing purely Oromo cultural and thanksgiving festival.


After few Oromos arrived, immediately and in earnest, the celebration was started with utmost euphoric urgency with all the fanfare to my utter surprise. Oromos were so anxious to celebrate no one gave it a thought to wait for those yet to arrive Usually, I am the one who makes a lot of noise around Oromos. This time, I was so overwhelmed and historically concise, just observing from the sidelines, even though many urged me to join in. When I couldn’t resist, I pulled three Oromo men and two women aside to ask them, “What is so different this time?  I have never seen you as ecstatic and blissful?”


They anonymously responded:

First, this is it! This is what I have been yearning for years, to celebrate what I am and what my ancestor have been celebrating for centuries. Second, it is mine. Third, my feelings for this joyful day came from within my soul and I cannot help it, ‘it is like genuinely organic’”.

{besps}simpleslideshow/LA{/besps} Within an hour of arrival, the crowd was so anxious; the women were summoned to the forefront to lead the group to the lake for the ritual aspects of Irreechaa. This part of celebration conducted twice, the second round hours later, after unexpectedly large number of Oromos showed up and missed the first! Once at the edge of the lake, Oromo elders, from all faiths, took turns praised Waaqa, blessed all Oromos, and prayed for freedom in their native Oromia and for those who are suffering in jails as Prisoners of Conscience, as well for those who have given up their lives fighting to uphold the dignity of the Oromo people everywhere. After the prayer ceremony was concluded; the bundle of green grass all participants were holding touched the surface of the lake to sprinkle the water around them and blessed Waaqa for all that is given to them and to safeguard all Oromos around the world.


The astounding grand day of celebration, music, blessings, hugging and greetings were followed by barbecue feast, with uniquely American touch, where the dance continued with everyone participation to the sunset, with breathtaking showcase nonstop, to the tune of Oromo music, mostly, by favorite Oromo Artists Hirpha Ganfure, Muktar Usman, Dawite Mokonnen, and Mohamed Sheka.


May Waaqa bless the Oromo people and their country, Oromia! Happy Irreechaa to all Oromos and friends of Oromo people around the world.


Los Angeles, California.

September 25, 2010

Note :  On this occasion, we would like to thank the Los Angeles County government/people for making all this possible.



Hayyee, Hayyee! Hayyee, Hayyee,

Waaqa Uumaa, Waaqa Uumamaa,

Waaqa Bokkuu Gurrachaa,

Waaqa Ciicoo Gurraatii,

Waaqa Haroo Burqaa Walaabuu,

Waaqa Caffee Tumaa,

Waaqa Odaa Nabee,

Waaqa Arruu Maaruu,

Waaqa Shanan Gadaa Oromoo,

Waaqa Sagaltama Garbaa,

Waaqa Salgan Booranaa,

Waaqa Torban Baarentummaa,

Waaqa Jahan Hora Galaan,

Waaqa Shanan Kuraa Jiddaa,

Waaqa Arfan Abbichuu,

Waaqa Arfan Gimbichuu,

Waaqa Sadeen Aada’aa,

Kan nagaan nu bulchite, nagaan nu oolchi.

Kan nagaan nu oolchite, nagaan nu bulchi.

Irraa-gora nu oolchi; dogoggora nu oolchi.

Uumaa kadhanna, nuu haa dhagahu.

Xinnaan haa guddatu; guddaan haa jiraatu.

Wallaalaan haa beeku; beekaan haa bulu.

Kan faca’e haa margu.

Kormi cirri haaa ta’u; riimaan haphee haa taatu.

Rooba nagaa haa roobu.

Qilleensa hamaa nurraa haa qabu.

Gadaan roobaa nagaa.

Barri quufaa gabbina



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