The Oromo Ethnic Group

The Oromo are the largest ethnic group native to Ethiopia, East Africa

[Photo Credit: The African History]

The Oromo group are one of the oldest Cushitic people living in the Ethiopia. They are also the third largest ethnic group in Africa. Although, there is no correct estimation of when they migrated to the region, they are said to have lived for over 7000 years in Ethiopia until they spread across other regions of Africa. Oromos have a notable presence in Kenya.

There is existing evidence that most of the eastern Cushitic people, like Somalis, Afaris and Saho may have originated from the Oromo. The oromo are referred to as Galla, but they call themselves by one of their clans and use the common umbrella name, Oromo (free born people).

The official language of the Oromo is Afaan Oromoo. The Oromo people have two major branches that is broken into several clans. The two major groups are the Borana Oromo and the Barentu/ Barentoo.

The Borana Oromo are also called the Boorana live in the Borena zone of the Oromo region of Ethiopia and speak the Afaan Oromo language. The Barentu live in the eastern parts of the Oromo region.

Traditionally, Oromo follow the Waaqeffanna religion and more than half of the Oromo people are Sunni Muslim, a third are Ethiopian Orthodox, while the rest are Protestants.

Historically, the Oromo’s ancestors were the first to cultivate the coffee plant. The cuisine of the Oromo includes vegetables and meat dishes but they do not eat pork because it is Haram.

In Oromo, the system of government is regulated by the Gadaa system. A male of the clan go through five stages of eight years, where his life established his role and status consideration to a Gadaa office. The Oromo choose nine leaders to govern them by a consensus every eight years.

The Gadaa is responsible for organizing Irreecha (religious celebration at the end of winter). The Gadaa General Assembly is the legislative body while Qallu Assembly is the religious institution.



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Written by Monsurat

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