Volume 8 Issue 1 (2019)

Cultural Responses to Lightning: The Case of Maccaa Oromo

pp. 87-99  |  Published Online: September 2019  |  DOI: 10.22521/unibulletin.2019.81.7

Terefe Mitiku, Milkessa Edae and Jinenus Wako


This work investigated Oromo cultural responses to lightning. In the work, sociocultural factors affecting the performance during responses are also discussed. Furthermore, the paper also examines and describes different rituals and taboos regarding lightning. Strategies used by the communities to minimize risk caused by lightning are also identified. Different spiritual and physical responses performed during and after lightning are justified according to worldview and the beliefs that guide the daily life of the Oromo people. Grief and sorrow are expressed with more acceptable taboo words such as using euphemisms and metaphoric expressions. In the course of a performance, each and every activity is directed by spiritual leaders and community elders, according to the cultural and religious norms of the society. Explanations with regards to the importance of certain rituals or activities and words are included. In addition, details for why certain taboos are accompanied by particular cultural rituals are presented. Community members who are the main actors during rituals are also identified. The ritual participants, types of sacrifice, and the roles of actors in the performance of rituals are also mentioned in this paper. Finally, the paper discusses the changes and continuities observed regarding the ritual and its process.

Keywords: Oromo, folklore, lightning, belief, taboo


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