The Atete ceremony is practiced by women and is one part of a belief system that women are intermediary figures between the Waaqaa (God) that represents nature and the physical world of humans. The myth has it that Waaqa listens to women’s desire and instantly responds to it. This is a part of the belief system that women are closer to nature in their nurturing and life-sustaining activities. Women’s prayer was used in the past as a powerful means of terminating harsh ecological disruptions (e.g. crop failure, drought, and endemic diseases) and other social crises such as protracted warfare. When such problems were detected, the men never puzzled over them, but urged the womenfolk in their core band to gather around a sacred Qiltu (sycamore tree), distinguished ford or high ground, or any renowned ujubaa (tree shrine). The timing of the festival is not fixed as such. Whenever natural disasters fall, women gather and perform the ritual. Without any fixed timing the Oromo women used to practice Atete as a way of strengthening their solidarity and as a tool to counter atrocities staged against them by men.






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