Journal of
Languages and Culture

  • Abbreviation: J. Lang. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6540
  • DOI: 10.5897/JLC
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 131

Full Length Research Paper

The indigenous Oromo peacemaking ritual: The case of Tajoo among Waayyuu Oromo of Arsii, Ethiopia

Lenin Kuto Hamado
  • Lenin Kuto Hamado
  • Jimma University, Oromo Folklore and Literature, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar
Dejene Gemechu Chala
  • Dejene Gemechu Chala
  • Social Anthropology, Jimma University Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 15 August 2015
  •  Accepted: 23 December 2015
  •  Published: 30 April 2016


This paper tries to reveal Tajoo ritual, which is performed annually in Arfaasaa (spring) as a New Year celebration by Waayyuu Oromo of Arsii. The data for this study were collected through participant observation, interview, focus group discussion and secondary sources. As revealed by the study, Tajoo is a ritual celebrated commonly by the whole community of Waayyuu Oromo on Hinikkaa (the first day of Oromo calendar). Passing through different steps the ritual is concluded by sacrificial activities for Waaqaa (approximately God in English) and prayer to Him for peace, fertility and prosperity and declaration of   Tajoo law. The findings of this paper indicate that Tajoo ritual has real significance in intercommunity peace-building and sustaining social solidarity, integration and re-integration. Therefore, using this indigenous institution as input is vital in future policy formulations in the country as peace issues are central to the realization of sustainable development.

Key words: Tajoo ritual, peacemaking, Arsii Oromo, indigenous, symbolism.


Arsii Oromo, the largest in Bareentuu group of the Oromo  confederacies, is divided into two main branches: Sikkoo and Mandoo. These groups have settled across larger territory. In fact, they inhabit expansive settlement area in comparison with other Oromo groups.  Waayyuu is one of main sub-branches of Mandoo moiety, which collectively called Waayyuu shanan (five Waayyuus). This paper focused on sub-branch of Waayyuu which inhabit Adamii Tulluu Jiddoo, Kombolchaa district around Baatuu town in central Rift Valley area of East Shawaa Zone of Oromia National Regional State in south central part of Ethiopia. 
Arsii  Oromo   of   the   study   area   are    followers   of
traditional religion which is a belief in Waaqa Gurracha.  Some of them also follow Islam and Christian religion.  However, the Islam and Christian religion is not deep rooted in the society’s tradition.  
There are different kinds of rituals performed at different times and places by the Arsii Oromo depending on Oromo calendar. Some of these rituals are Tajoo, Ateetee, Boorantichaa, Wodaajaa, Falaa, Hanqiftuu (Hulluuqqoo), Wobaxaa etc. This article focuses on Tajoo ritual, which is performed as a marker of Oromo New Year. The ritual takes place yearly at Malkaa (ford) through   sacrifice   and  libation  in  the  hope  that  Tajoo brings about peace and harmony in the society as a whole.    
Ritual performance is common feature of human life. According to Schirch (2005, p.1) to study humanity, is to study ritual…to ponder the future of humanity is… to consider the future of ritual. The author also suggests that peace building should be thought of as a stage that must be constructed to engage people's emotions and feelings to capture their imagination and interest. Peace building and conflict resolution (such as principled negotiation), practitioners need to rely more on ritual. 
Folklorists study rituals because their complexity and dramatic qualities make them dense with meanings: they are significant expressions of a group’s traditions, beliefs, values, and identity. Because rituals are so important in making the process of folklore visible, we want to focus in depth on this complex category (Sims and Stephens, 2011, p.99).
Tajoo is a very important ritual performances in Oromo culture in general and Arsii Oromo in particular. Ayyaan-laakkooftuus (Oromo time-reckonners) determines and sets   the exact date of the ritual, which varies from year to year. The Gadaa  leaders facilitate the ceremony by mobilizing the community to attend the ceremony. On the day of celebration, new law is set and announced; previous laws could be ratified, and conflicts are resolved by Shanacha Gadaa (Gadaa councils).Such and other related relevant aspects and outcomes of the ritual attracted the attention of the present researcher. 
On the other hand, there are some existing studies, which attempted to highlight the southern, central and western Oromo ritual performances. These include the work of  Legesse (1973) on the Borana Gadaa system, Bartels (1983) on Oromo religious rituals, Kelbessa (2001) on Oromo rituals in conserving environment, Gemechu, (2007) on  ritual in blood price payment (Guma), Badhaasoo’s (2000) and Qashu’s (2009) researches on some wedding ceremonies are worth mentioning. Moreover, ateetee, siinqee, qanafaa and rakoo were studied by Deressa (2002), whereas, siiqqee institution was studied by Kumsa (1997). These works did not touch the Waayyuu sub branch of Arsii Oromo, which is covered by this study. In addition, none of these researches discussed about Tajoo and its role in peace making and social integration. Therefore, to fill these gaps, this study focuses on indigenous Oromo peacemaking and social integration ritual focusing on Tajoo among Arsii Oromo. The paper intended to investigate the role of Tajoo ritual in peace-building and social integration, to define Tajoo ritual from the perspective of Arsii Oromo, to identify activities related to Tajoo ritual, to identify the participants in  Tajoo  ritual,  to explore the roles of participants in the ritual and to explore changes and continuities undergone in the ritual.
The research can be the basis for the future studies related to peace making rituals like Tajoo. The result of this research can also serve as an input in policy formulation in the country concerning peace building and social integration in the effort to achieve sustainable peace and social integration in the country

The concept of ritual
According to Sims and Stephens (2011), a ritual is a particular type of tradition that many folklorists study as a distinct category of folklore. Rituals are habitual actions, but they are more purposeful than customs; rituals are frequently highly organized and controlled, often meant to indicate or announce membership in a group. Most rituals bring together many types of folklore: verbal such as chants, recitations, poems, or songs; customary, such as gestures, dances, or movements; and materials, such as food, books, awards, clothing, and costumes. 
In addition (Myerhoff (1977) cited in Sims and Stephens (2011) defines rituals as performances that are repeated and patterned and frequently include ceremonial symbols and actions. Perhaps most significant to our recognition of rituals is a frame that indicates when the ritual begins and ends. 
However, for Schirch (2005) ritual includes a wide collection of activities, which may be religious or secular, traditional or modern, formal or informal, forming or transforming, and destructive or constructive.
Types of ritual
The most common and widely held rituals include those related to important events such as birth, puberty, marriage, and death. Some rituals are practiced by an entire community or within a large geographic area, and many are related with a particular culture or ethnicity. The authors suggest that as with other folklore texts, categories overlap, and elements of each kind of ritual may be related to elements of other kinds. The labels we suggest are meant to help illustrate and describe the many situations in which rituals are performed and have meaning (Sims and Stephens, 2011). According to these authors, the following are major types of ritual.
Rites of passage rituals
Rites of passage mark notable dates or stages in a person’s  life.  Most  rites  of  passage  occur  at  times  of change or transition: birth, puberty, entering adulthood or coming of age, marriage, and death. In some groups, rites of passage involve fasting, body modifications, or ingestion of ceremonial foods or substances; in others, ceremonies are not as elaborate and are embedded within group interactions (Sims and Stephens, 2011). 
For Gennep, these kinds of rituals have three stages: separation (preliminal), transition (liminal), and reincorporation (postliminal), when a person who has gone through a ritual returns to society with a new status (Gennep, 1960, cited in Sims and Stephens, 2011, p. 114). Rites of passage are practiced in all cultures. But the events celebrated vary from culture to culture. Coming-of-age rituals are a particular type of rite of passage that acknowledges the transition from childhood to adulthood. These rituals occur around the time of puberty and frequently involve extended community participation.
Initiation rituals
Initiation rituals express a person’s entrance into membership of a certain group. Groups with initiation rituals are usually well defined, with clear hierarchies and structures, perhaps even laws or rules of conduct. Some initiation ceremonies and rituals are private and secret; others are open to the public. Examples include sorority and fraternity initiations or ceremonies, and inductions into occupational or honorary societies. Rituals may include reciting promises or pledges, performing humiliating acts to prove one is willing to do anything to belong, or being presented with ceremonial artifacts or clothing that show others one is a member (Sims and Stephens, 2011).
Among the Guji Oromo, the initiation ceremony is known as lagubasa (liberating ceremony) and it involves testing the youth in skills, knowledge and morals required of adulthood. When entering the raabaa grade, a person attains adult status and legitimacy to have authority with intricate social roles and responsibilities (Tadesse, 2013).
Naming rituals
According to Sims and Stephens (2011), there are many rituals associated with naming that ranges from a public presentation of an infant within an informal gathering of a family group to elaborate ceremonies in which names are bestowed by religious or community leaders. Among some groups, a child’s name might be the same  as  or  a variation of a respected elder’s or might be chosen to convey aspects of a particular ethnicity or culture, and rituals might be held to solidify those traditions. A seemingly simple act like giving a name to a baby may be a crucial element in forming identity and taking one’s place in society and may be so important that groups express the value of the naming process through formal procedures. While  names  and  traditions  associated  with  them  are  important  in  most groups, some groups have developed rituals that concretize their importance through  actions  and  performances. 
Similarly, Tadesse (2013) states that, gubbisa, naming ritual, like any other Gadaa rituals, is performed once in eight years and all men who are in Gadaa generational grade would give a common name to all of their children. The ritual is led by Abbaa Gadaa and involves slaughtering of a bull, prayers and performances of folksongs.
Ritual in conflict resolution
Rituals for Turner (1957 as cited in Dejene, 2007, p.13) are social drama that resolves crises by dramatizing the advantages of values and social arrangements. It is performed in response to the breach of law during times of social conflicts to restore the social order. Through rituals, social values are given sacred authority.
According to him, the drama of dispute settlement passes through four phases: (1) the breach of peace (2) the crises that result from the breach (3) the practice of resolving the crises and (4) the re-establishment of the unity of the groups. Although rituals may solve concrete conflicts, they do not extinguish contradictions, which continue to exist at a more basic structural level. For Turner, the effect of a ritual is a result of the performance that stimulates an emotional response and thereby transforms perception. 
A conflict-resolving ritual transformation occurs in two ways. The first is resolving conflicts that occur between two or more people in order to reinstate a sense of mutually agreed-upon justice (redressive). The second is restoring stability, order, and harmony to social relations (reconciliation) (Al-Krenawi and Graham, 1999, p.163). 
Ritual offers an opportunity to interact in a space where the conflict seems to have no currency and where the social structures that often cause conflict no longer operate. People are reminded of their relationships and their shared desire for peace (Schirch, 2005). Schirch also suggests that there are some topics, issues, and feelings  that  can  be communicated only through rituals.
This is the case as individuals learn and communicate each other by doing. Peace building should emphasize ritual action and nonverbal communication rather than focusing solely on rational discussion. Through ritual, humans try out new ways of being together and create a new reality for themselves. 
In the same way, Gondoro tradition has complex ritual procedures and strong symbolic representation of purification of the ‘curse’ and reconciliation of conflicting individuals/groups between the Guji Oromo and the Gedeo in Ethiopia. The tradition is performed not only as a mechanism of purifying the ‘curse’ from the guilty but also as a method of conflict resolution. Through the ritual processes, the guilty person and his clan would be reconciled with the relatives and clan members of the offended. The tradition works both in resolution of inter-personal as well as inter-group conflicts (Asebe, 2007).
For Bartels (1994), “peace making is always concluded with prayers and rituals of reconciliation with Waaqa, God”. The Oromo believe that, whenever people enter into conflict with one another, they also enter into conflict with God. Bartels reported the Oromo saying: “Waaqa does not hear our prayers if we are not at peace with each other”. God is said to be happy when humans (and all of his creatures for that matter) are at peace; God hates conflict (Bartels, 1994, cited in Tenna, 2013). 


In this study, qualitative research paradigm is used. Since ritual in peacemaking and social integration is the central point of the study, ethnographic methods of data collection were used to collect, analyze and interpret the data.
Ritual studies are ethnographic, drawing heavily on participant observation and interviews. It is also doggedly comparative, committed to charting cross-cultural similarities and differences (Schilderman, 2007). In field research on ritual, observation and interview are the usual correctives against stereotyping, projecting, and other ways of misunderstanding data. 
However, before arriving at a field site, it is crucial to know what one knows, to disgorge what one takes for granted. In short, self-knowledge, not just knowledge of the other, is essential to ethnographic research (ibid). 
Therefore, three methods were used for successful accomplish-ment of this study: participant observation, interview and focus group discussion. These three methods contributed to the achievement of the goals of the study.  In addition, the researcher also tried to search the existing documents on the subject or similar subjects that would help to focus on, understand and interpret the basic issues. 
Cultural research demands participant observation of actual situations and live activities. It involves getting close to people and making them feel comfortable enough with the observer’s presence so that one can observe and record information about the observed. The main advantage of participant observation is its directness: it enables researchers to study action as it occurs. The researcher does not have to ask people about their behavior and the actions of others: he/she can simply watch as individuals act and speak. This in turn enables the investigator to collect data first- hand,  thereby   preventing  contamination  of  the  factors  standing between him and the object of the research (Russell, 2006). 
Tajoo ritual is celebrated mostly in January and February depending on Oromo calendar. The 2014 Tajoo ritual took place on February 5. The current researcher attended and observed all pertinent ritual events and celebrants from the beginning to the end. The researcher took notes, captured pictures and recorded audio while the ritual activities were going on.
In-depth interview was a method of qualitative data collection which the researcher applied to generate relevant data. The researcher purposefully selected the Gadaa leaders and eleven elders depending on their knowledge, experience, and social responsibility. During interview, the researcher and co-data collector recorded audio data, took notes and photo of the participants after securing their consents. 
Focus group discussion was also used to gather relevant data for this paper. Focus group discussion is usually exploratory in nature and is used to discover the underlying sentiment or attitudes toward the topic under discussion. It is a good way to gather together people from similar backgrounds or experiences to discuss a specific topic of interest.
 It is useful for the researcher in identifying normative issues, terms, perceptions, attitudes, beliefs, interpretation, from a group of individuals (Russell, 2006). Therefore, for the purpose of this research, the researcher selected two groups each constituting eight individuals reasonably depending on their experience and knowledge. This includes Gadaa leaders of Waayyuu Oromo and eight elders. 
Decisions were made earlier on ethical issues with concerned bodies. The voluntary nature of participation and the right of the participants to withdraw from the study at any time were clearly explained to them at the beginning of the study. Explanations were given regarding the issues of confidentiality, anonymity, and potential uses of the findings. Finally, qualitative methods of data analysis were used to analyze data. Interpretation and description were used for the data that have been collected through participant observation, interview and focus group discussion. 


The concept of Tajoo ritual
In defining the term Tajoo, it is important to know the concept ayyaanaa. In this sense, the term ayyaanaa means day which is determined by Oromo time reckonings, ayyaana-laakkayuu. The name of particular ayyaanaa or the day on which the Tajoo ritual is celebrated is known as Hinikkaa. Hinikkaa means ayyaanaa Waaqaa, literally means God’s Day. Tajoo performed on the day of Hinikkaa to celebrate Waaqaa’s Day. Therefore, Tajoo means the ritual performed on the day of God. Tajoo is exclusive to Oromo for the Non-Oromo do not participate in the ritual. However, sometimes Non-Oromo and Non-Arsii Oromo clans such as Silte, Marako, Meskana, Gona and Sodo  may participate through their representative elders to present cases  of   conflict,   which   can   be   addressed   on  the occasion of Tajoo ritual. The day of Tajoo is considered as the marriage day of Waaqaa (God), when all humans should celebrate the wedding.  
It is one of the Waaqaa’s ceremonies, held annually. Historically, Tajoo is the ritual, which brings the people together. It is considered ceremony of peace and rain that is celebrated for herd and community alike. Tajoo is sometimes considered as libation ceremony (dhibaayyuu or muudaa) which means anointment, and it refers to prayer period for the Oromo. It represents the idea of loyalty to the ideals of religion, sustainable socialization and human harmony. Information from the field attested that Tajoo belongs to the whole of ‘Black’ Arsii, ‘Tajoon ta Arsii gurraachaati’. According to Waayyuu elders, black Arsii means the strongest, the purest and the native Oromo, who do not fear enemy, who fear only Waaqaa and who keep secret, whose heart is seen only by Waaqaa.
Actors and procedures of Tajoo ritual
Data from the field indicated that culturally, Tajoo ritual belongs to all followers of indigenous Oromo religion . The entire Arsii Oromo can participate in it. In Tajoo ritual, everybody has her/his own role. All libation materials like ciicoo (milk container), other feasts as well as siinqee (ritual stick) are brought by women. Elders with Gadaa leader facilitate the way to sacrifice of the sacrificial animals and keep the schedule of each activity intact and make sure that everyone gets informed as well as discharges his/her responsibilities for the libation to take place. Adults keep sacrificial cattle and bring xiribbaa (small wooden peg).  
Gadaa leaders are the most important actors in Tajoo ritual. They announce essential information to the community from the very beginning. They facilitate the ritual by maintaining different steps which the actors have to pass through. These are qixxee, tolfannoo, dullacha golgaa, cirri eedduu, malkaa booreessuu, xiribbaa dhaabuu and seera tumuu. Even though translating these activities into English would not do justice for it possibly distorts the meanings the following section attempts to explain their concepts.    
Qixxee is the assembly held at different levels for different purposes. For the purpose of Tajoo ritual, a Gadaa leader organizes qixxee (meeting) to discuss how the ritual would be conducted. It is heed at kraal of Gadaa leader or at kraal of hayyuu (famous elder). All representatives of Waayyuu clans  avail  themselves  and participate in qixxee to hear the responsibility of their respective clans in Tajoo ritual. Time reckoners also participate in qixxee and inform the exact date of the Tajoo ritual.  On that assembly, a Gadaa leader announces the date of the ritual publically. Responsibility is given to every clan on qixxee to prepare necessary items for the ritual.
Tolfannoo is precondition for Tajoo ritual and symbolizes driving out enemies and evils from the region. It is performed on the jalabultii (eve) of Tajoo at a place called Haroo Booramoo, which also known as Dirree Yaa’aa (meeting place). On this day, people go to Booramoo on their horses’ back and sacrifice grayish-brown and nearly black he-goat. At tolfannoo ceremony, they also perform laallee; etymologically it is related to ilaallee (we have observed). It marks the exorcising of enemies or cleanses the ancestors from evils. To perform laallee all participants climb uphill and point their spear, and siinqee (women’s ritual stick) to the direction of the enemy, mostly to the southwest. Arsii Oromo used to curse saying “dhidhimii bitaa aani or bitaa bu’i, Waaqni bitaa si haa buusu”, which means get lost to the south direction, may God get rid of you to the south. 
Dullacha Golgaa
For the Arsii Oromo, sacrificing an old cow is believed to clear all wrong actions and pacifies the society. Therefore, in the morning of Tajoo ritual (before going to malkaa (ford) for the ritual) people sacrifice dullacha golgaa, an old cow to clear the road to Tajoo ritual.  This sacrificial is arranged in someone’s house as per the decision of the clan assembly, which is decided during the initial meeting. 
Women bring an old cow to be sacrificed and they tie it to the tree while the prayer goes on steadily. They also go around the cow eight times to symbolize the period of one Gadaa class, singing and praying for peace and fullness. Before sacrificing an old cow, the elder women bless the celebrants by moving her hand over the back of the cow gently. According to Waayyuu elders, woman is believed to be closer to Waaqaa because she is humbler, weaker; softer and innocent than male counterparts. Therefore, she is thought to be unfit for a fight. That is why the society thinks Waaqaa will listen more to women than to men. Thus, what a woman blesses is believed to be blessed; what she curses is believed to be cursed. 
Cirri Eedduu
Cirrii  in  Oromo  refers  to  oxpecker  and  eedduu means keepers. The two together means oxpecker keeper. Therefore, Cirri eedduu are people who cherish the materials of Tajoo ritual, which are kept on the bank of the river until libation. These cultural materials are ciicoo (milk container), siinqee, and others with cultural foods and drinks like micciiraa (Oromo cultural food, which is prepared from mixture of butter and flour of barley), surree (Oromo cultural food which is prepared from mixture of butter, honey and flour of barley), caccabsaa (Oromo cultural food, which is prepared from mixture of butter, pepper, honey and flour of wheat), marmaaree (Oromo cultural food, which is prepared from mixture of butter, honey and flour of wheat), milk and honey mead. Women bring all these materials and they put them at riverbank till libation time. 
They are collectively known as meeshaalee woyyoomaa; sacred materials. Cirri eedduu oversee birds, flies, children, and dog from eating (spoiling) these sacred cultural materials. If these materials are damaged by children or dogs, it is considered as breach of law; and if foods and drinks are spilt out and chipped the law could be also broken. Waayyuu Oromo equate keeping oxpecker away from their cattle (which pecks the back of cattle) with cirri eedduu, who keep sacred materials on the malkaa (ford).
Malkaa Booreessuu
Malkaa booreessuu is done by moving sacrificial animals into the river and turn round them in the river to make the river turbid. The act is the symbol of rainfall, which floods and gets the soil water socked, thereby ensuring peace and fertility for the society.  To symbolize this, they go around the sacrificial animals. All participants in the ritual somberly watch when youngsters drag the sacrificial animals around in the river, males say, Waaqni roobe Waaqni roobe! Literally means, ‘Rain is raining!’ ‘Rain is raining!’ While females are ululating. After stirring the river, the participant’s rash to Odaa (sycamore tree) shade to symbolize escaping from the coming heavy rainfall. They run hastily while reciting ‘hitit, hitit… roobni nu dhaanee beenaa mana seennaa’, literally means let us go home; the rain is pouring on to us. Hitit, hitit is a reaction which someone says when feels serious cold.
Xiribbaa Dhaabuu
Xiribbaa is a small wooden peg made from mi’eessaa, xaaxeessaa (Premna resinosa) and ejersaa (Olea europaea) trees for different purpose in Arsii Oromo. The Arsii stake into ground this small peg for different purposes in different rituals. Data from the field showed that Xiribbaa indicates ownership of a certain land, keeps away   evil   deeds   from  the  society,  and  warrants  the continual living of the people on their land. For the purpose of Tajoo ritual, it is be erected on the shore of river by Gadaa leaders and cidha baaftuu (people of ceremony) after sacrificial animals stirred in the river and turbid it (Figure 1). 
All Gadaa classes should participate in the erection of xiribbaa. If anyone of the classes is absent, it is believed that bad luck would occur up on the entire community in general and that Gadaa class in particular. Ultimately, it signals failure of the ritual, as a result of which Waaqaa may harm the community. Thus, all Gadaa classes should be present on time to erect xiribbaa. Xiribbaa hammered first by Gadaa leader in power. Subsequently, all representatives of Gadaa class beat it according to their seniority. 
Planting xiribbaa to the ground at malkaa is among rules and regulations of Tajoo. This is because the sacrificial animals are not tied to other pole on Tajoo ritual, but only to Xiribbaa after Malkaa Boreessuu ceremony (making the stream turbid). Erecting xiribbaa is believed to safeguard against any eviction from community’s land, migration and calamities like earthquake, endemic disease, drought and etc (Figure 2). 
Making and amending law during Tajoo ritual
At the end of Tajoo ritual, Gadaa leader orders the murtii biyyaas (lawyers) to declare the law of Tajoo ritual as well as other laws. Waayyuu ratified Tajoo laws on Tajoo ritual every year.  Tajoo law is declared only on Tajoo ritual day. Because Arsii Oromo believe that Tajoo law is considered as the law of Waaqaa that have to be amended and made on the day of Waaqa. They amend some laws because of global, national as well as local political, economic and social factors. For instance, they have amended and reduced gumaa (blood price payment) from hundred heads of cattle to fifty because of changing livelihood from the former pastoralist to agro-pastoralist.  They also permit market place for the non-Oromo neighboring groups. 
Changes and continuities in Tajoo ritual
Tajoo ritual performance was forbidden by respective Ethiopian colonizer regimes of Oromo country.  Haile Silassie regime outlawed the ritual and established Ziway Town, changing the place name from Baatuu to Ziway.  During the Derg regime, people performed Tajoo ritual secretly. Later, Derg prohibited holding rites at rivers like Malkaa Garbii, Deemsisaa, Lakkoolee, Waamichaa, Dambii, Waafiiqoo, Baatuu, Gootuu and Malkaa Tajoo, which were sacred places for Waayyuu for different religious and secular rituals. Tajoo ritual was revitalized in 2007  in  collaboration  with Waayyuu Gadaa leaders and 
Adami Tulu Culture and Tourism Bureau. Unlike in the past, the arrangement, performance, and or law enforce-ment for Tajoo ritual is largely determined by local government officials. The district officials facilitate it; sometimes, they even fix the date of ritual, forced people to repeal ritual laws, for instance the laallee ritual. There are frictions between elders and local administrative on the performance of Tajoo ritual. 


Although rituals are common features of human life, harmony is inherent in Oromo ritual and ceremonial activities for proper administrative, religious, moral, political and legal functions. For the Oromo, nagaa is an essential key to an orderly universe and societal well‐being that humans must obey. 
As  stated  in  literature  review,  rituals  for  Turner  are social drama that resolves crises by dramatizing the advantages of values and social arrangements. Through rituals, social values are given sacred positions. Similar to this, Tajoo is dramatized and symbolically signifies the advantages of sustain peace, harmony, integration and reintegration among Arsii Oromo.
Legesse (2000) states that, among the Oromo, the concept of peace goes beyond the human domain. Peace is a pervasive and sustained concern in moral life. The long blessings that are given daily by Oromo elders are prayers for peace. The theme of peace is everywhere. Thus, the Oromo believe that everything must be at peace for societal well-being and development.
As portrayed by this study, Arsii Oromo believe that all things in the universe are interconnected. The divine and the secular are inseparable, and the activities, ceremonies, and rituals of day-to-day life are intended to secure balance in the universe. Peacemaking is inherently spiritual in that it illustrates on ceremony, prayer, ritual, and  the supernatural to restore balance, harmony, and peace to  the  humanity. 
Similarly, Tenna (2013) states that, the Oromo term nagaa literally means peace, but a definition that includes everything that it implies is yet to be given. Observations of Oromo ritual and ceremonial activities suggest that peace is the harmony of things or parties involved in certain relations; brings harmonious relations between different parts of the human and cosmic orders. For the Oromo, peace is understood as one of the necessities of life. In the absence of peace, even the fulfilment of basic necessities cannot be adequate for the preservation and development of human life.
Similar to Tenna’s study, Tajoo ritual is also an institution or mechanism of peaceful social integration. It maintains peaceful social relationships. People in conflicts between themselves do not present on Tajoo ritual days unless they resolve the quarrel before the ritual. Therefore, Gadaa leaders order the representatives of each clan to identify and resolve minor and major conflicts at qixxee (assembly). Elders settle the conflicts between individuals, family, neighbor, inter-clan  or  intra-clan levels. 
According to Aguilar (2005, p. 58), “Oromo rituals recreate, enact, and maintain the social order [which] symbolically expresses the cosmological order. Prayers link the earthly part of the cosmological order with the divine one.”
In line with this, Tajoo ritual has various roles politically, socially and economically for the society. The ritual especially builds peace and integration among participants.  Arsii Oromo believe that when Tajoo is performed, it ensures all success. When Tajoo is performed improperly with a breach of its rules and regulations, all things would go wrong. Generally, the Arsii Oromo used to believe that with the performance of Tajoo ritual, the whole Arsii would be land of peace, love and prosperity.
Arsii Oromo believe that participating in Tajoo ritual with dispute even in heart would cause harm from Waaqaa (God). Consequently, people who have conflicts between or within members of the society should inform and resolve their conflicts ahead of ritual since restoring and  perpetuating  peace  in  the  community is one of the essential preconditions for performing Tajoo ritual’s. 
In addition to this, on the day of Tajoo ritual (before libation period Gadaa leader announces the following, “Those among you who have differences, and those who divide yourself in hate, forgive each other and give each other the kiss of peace before going to river for libation. Do not get us involved in dispute with Waaqaa (God); today the eye of Waaqaa is on all of us.” After that, individuals who are in disputes forgive one other and reconcile. If there are major conflicts, such as inter-clan and intra-clan, two parties bring the issues to Gadaa leaders. Then Gadaa leaders discuss and give solution before libation time. It is not postponed to another day because that day is Waaqaa’s day, when the peace should prevail. 
Resolving cases of conflict also entails between the Arsii and non-Oromo neighbors, such as Marako, Silte, Gona, Maskana and Sodo through Gurraachaa institution.   Gurraachaa institution, entrusted to oversee the issues of conflicts between Arsii Oromo and non-Arsii people. It serves as peacemaking and social integration institution between Arsii and other non-Arsii groups.  
According to Arsii elders, Gurraachaa institution settle major conflicts over looting cattle, duels over borders and pasture/grazing lands. As a result, these groups practice intermarriage, set up common market, use common grazing land, and share sources for drinking and watering their livestocks. Some of them also use common law. For instance, the Marako is using Arsii Oromo traditional law through Gurraachaa institution. 


The important symbols and values of the people are used, provoked, communicated, or expressed in rituals. Tajoo ritual plays an important role in the peacemaking process, social integration and reintegration.  It helps to link people to the past, present and future. Generally, according to Arsii Oromo elders through the performance of Tajoo ritual, harmony is established between all things in the universe. Overall, this study fairly argued that Tajoo ritual has real significance in intercommunity peace building and sustaining social solidarity, integration and re-integration. Tajoo ritual has broad concepts and meanings, which still need further investigation. For instance, the historical backgrounds of the ritual, the concept of Oromo New Year, associated with Tajoo, but which have been overlooked in Ethiopian studies demands further investigations. Therefore, to illustrate, preserve and conserve the indigenous culture and knowledge more and deep research and investigation is required


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