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Tuesday, November 19, 2019
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Why do we celebrate ABOAKYER FESTIVAL : SEE PHOTOS

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FESTIVAL BACKGROUND

 The Effutus of Simpa now Winneba are Guan. They were led by the warrior king; Kwamena Gyarteh Ayirebi-Gyan and spiritually guided by the head deity Otu but it was his grandson, Osimpam Bondze abe who eventually founded this settlement which was named after him. The Effutus speak Effutu, a distinct version of the Awutu dialect. 

Osimpam Bondze abe planted the ɔsenkyew tree and ensured that annually Otu now called Penkye Out was propitiated as usual with human blood. During the reign of King Bondze Enyinman (1495 – 1560) a change in custom was initiated and this has survived to date. The old ways of propitiating the deity became one of a sacrifice of a wild deer (“Wansan”) caught from a hunt by the community militia men. Historically, this became the reference birth period for this festival; Aboakyer, to wit, animal hunt.

After him, King Bondze Abe (1515 – 1560) admired this custom and first formed the asafo and named it Akomfor, this later became Tuafo Asafo No. 1 Company and his successor and son, King Bondze Essiedu (d. 1619) created a second group, Dentsefo Asafo No. 2 Company and also established the Tufuhen stool for the Eyipeywo (people of Eyipey) to liaise between the asafo companies. The asafo is well structured with divisions and a command hierarchy. Their costumes and paraphernalia make them a unique cultural institution which has over the years exhibited bravery in supporting the consecration ceremony of the chief deity of the Effutu State.

Aboakyer, though very exciting in outlook, is an important religious obligation of the Effutu people. The festival begins with consultations months before the due date by the state; the stool elders of Otuano with the deity and commence rites of consecration while the asafo do their only later and close to the festival at their respective shrines.

Friday before the hunt, the asafo parade their gods through the principal streets for protection and a successful hunt. The next day, Saturday, at dawn, the asafo go to the hunt and bring home a live animal to be sacrificed on Sunday. In the afternoon, King who is still said to be on the outskirts of town awaits his chiefs and asafo to join him in a procession back home. It is a joyous procession, with traditional drumming. For the asafo, this is a special procession. Tuafo perform Akosuadontoba and Owombir by Dentsefo and supported by their female counterparts who perform their type of asafo Adzeba using gourd (mfowba).

The Principal Elders of the Otuano Royal House appreciate the efforts and sacrifices made by all able bodied men and women of the two asafo companies and their whip bearers, drummers, women gourd players, fetish priests and elders for making this annual festival successful.  The king and his chiefs will forever be grateful to them.

 

Source: tnpnewsonline.com (TNP NEWS)/Samuel Appah-Peniel

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