2010 marks the third annual opportunity for the Australian Oromo Community Association in Victoria (AOCAV) to spread awareness of Oromumma to the local community and the wider global village. Federation Square represents the central heart of Melbourne and also one of the select locations Oprah Winfrey chose to make a public speech during her recent visit to Australia. However on the day of December 19, Federation Square belonged to one community: the Australian Oromo Community Association in Victoria (AOCAV).
Not surprisingly, the entire festival was a jam-packed affair. Without exception, Australian Oromo men and women both young and old banded together to showcase superb performances of dance, art, spoken word, traditional clothing and blessings that touched the anticipating hearts and festive souls of eager crowds. People from all walks of life were entrenched with Oromo tradition as Oromumma spirit truly came alive. Powerful and influential people in the community including Member of Parliament Mr. Clem Newton-Brown MP on behalf of the Premier of Victoria and Justice Pagone is a Supreme Court Judge and Vice President of the International Commission of Jurists also joined our festivities, commenting specifically on the vibrancy of the Oromo culture and the energy of the crowds. Their observation is not a new revelation but rather a tribute to the increasing momentum of Australian Oromos on our local landscape – an achievement worth being proud of.
One of the biggest shifts at the 2010 Federation Square Oromo festival was the effort to renew Oromo traditions of paying homage to the motherland. Accordingly, the Australian Oromo Community Association in Victoria (AOCAV) re-enacted Irreecha practices and also for the first time, extended an invitation to the indigenous Aboriginal people of Australia, the Wurundjeri tribe, to also conduct an indigenous welcoming ceremony as a mark of respect. After all, Aboriginal Australians and Australian Oromos can unite after having suffered a mutually painful past and what better way to celebrate than to invite our hosts to perform a ritual so close to the Oromo heart.
On a much lighter note, the Federation Square festival day also reflected our local Melbourne culture by celebrating all four seasons of the weather every hour! The sun shined, the rain poured and the wind blew but there was absolutely nothing could dampen the spirits of hundreds of people in the audience that cheered the on every performance. Some initiatives have changed since the Australian Oromo festival’s inception in 2008, and some things have not. However one thing remains for sure: Oromia at Federation Square has continued to experience a huge momentum and this year is no exception.