Preserve Value of Irreecha Festival to Ensure Inscription by UNESCO, Say Scholars

Addis Ababa : The Irreecha festival should be celebrated with its values and assets intact as a testimony for inscription at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), experts said.
Addis Ababa University Assistant Cultural Studies Professor, Tadesse Jaleta told ENA that attendees of the festival should celebrate Irreecha according to the custom, values, and assets.

“The values and assets of Irreecha should be reflected at the celebration as it is the testimony for the heritage that enables it to get registered as a UNESCO cultural heritage,” he added.

Tadesse noted that UNESCO needs detailed information to register the festival as intangible heritage, stressing that researchers should discharge their role in collecting and documenting information about Irreecha.

It is also important to promote the significance of this grand festival at international level and get registered by the UNESCO, he further stated.

The researcher Gutu Tesso pointed out that Ethiopia has registered a number of its cultural heritages at UNESCO.

One of those cultural heritages was the Geda system inscribed on the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List, he said, adding that “Irreecha has been part of the Geda system and also an institution that can stand alone. It is therefore being considered to be registered as a cultural heritage.”

According to him, the government has a lot to do and take the lion’s share in terms of endorsing  the federal by substantiating whatever historical and archaeological or whatever is required to qualify for a cultural heritage.

At the same time, there must be a strong effort in engaging and working closely with UNESCO to convince it to consider the festival as a stand alone cultural heritage.

Above all the Ethiopian people, particularly the Oromo people, have quite a lot to do in terms of maintaining its cultural values and its traditional contents, Gutu stated.

“You see over the years that the celebrations are adulterated, the cultural values and assets really distorted and changed. So the Ethiopian people need to do a lot to maintain its cultural  values and assets,” he stressed.

Culture and Tourism Minister, Hirut Kassaw said efforts have been exerted to get inscribed the Irreecha festival, the Thanksgiving of the Oromo people, with UNESCO.

“All criteria are fulfilled and study has been finalized. Thus we are waiting for them to register Irreecha as UNESCO intangible cultural heritage,” she revealed.

However, the minister noted that all the people should preserve the values and assets of the festival and pass it to the next generation.



Source: Ethiopia News agency

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