The main objective of this study was to investigate perceptions, practices and Challenges of Oromo Gabbaraa Marriage system in the case of some selected woredas of Bale (Sinana and Rayitu) and West Arsi (Shashemene and Shalla) zones. To meet the suggested objectives, the researchers mainly employed ethnography research designforit can guide them to understand larger-scale, macro-level phenomena, cultural practices over time; particularly, how Gabbaraa form of marriage brought a major cultural/societal changeover time in Arsi and Bale and what resulted from the change.In addition, quantitative paradigm was used as a supplementary method since the issue at the hand was complex. Three kebeles were selected from each woreda of both zones purposively which were 12 in number. The study involved couples, elders, Gadaa leaders/officials, religious leaders and cultural experts as target participants.In this regard, 60 married couples and 36 elderswere selected from those kebeles using snowball sampling technique. Similarly, 8 Gada leaders and 12 religious leaders were selected from each woreda purposively. In addition, a total of 67 workers of culture and tourism offices of both zones and four woredas were participated in the study. In total, 183 participants were involved in the study. Four instruments of data collection (questionnaire, interview, Focused Group Discussion, and non-participant observation) were used in order to collect more relevant data from the subjects. In this case, questionnaires were prepared for workers of culture and tourism offices. On the other hand, semi-structured interview and focused group discussion were held in-depth with elders, couples, Gada leaders and religious leaders. The researchers also observed four wedding ceremonies through non- participant observation. Using these four intsruments, the data was collected effectively and analyzed carefully. Quantitative data was tallied, tabulated and described using descriptive statistics like frequency and percent whereas qualitative data was discussed qualitatively. The study shows that gabbara marriage is the most being practiced in the area under study; particularly, it dowries’ (gabbaraa) has been being increased highly over time in Shalla and Shashemene districts. In doing so, hitherto, most people are not considering the future life of couples, social and economic status of bridegrooms in the process of this wedding. In contrast, Gada leaders, religious leaders, elders and almost married couples have negative perceptions towards the cultural, social, economic, and psychological impacts this marriage system since it has no legal dowry paying rules. Moreover, couples and their family and society as a whole have been being challenged in different aspects by the high amount of gabbara. Hence, to minimize this adapted and deviated cultural practice from its originality, the concerned stake holders like cultural and tourism officers from government and Gada leaders, religious leaders, elders and youngsters from social classes should work hand-in-hand on the issue through discussion and advice with the society in general and youngsters in particular in various contexts to play their respective roles effectively.
Keywords: Perceptions, Practices, Challenges, Gabbaraa, Marriage system, Oromo