Aboakyir: Deer Hunting Festival – Graphic Online


ABOAKYIR is a deer hunting festival celebrated by the Efutu people of Winneba in the central region.

The name Aboakyir translates to “game or animal hunting” in the Fante dialect as spoken by the people of the central region. The celebration of the festival is to commemorate the successful migration of the people of Simpa (the traditional name for the people of Winneba).

History of the party

Aboakyir originates from an ancient rite where sacrifices are traditionally offered to the god Otu in order to eliminate evil and predict a good harvest.

It is said that the people of the ancient empire of Western Sudan migrated south and settled in Simpa, now Winneba.

To celebrate this, the priest ordered them, in the name of their god, to offer a young member of the royal family as a sacrifice every year.

The people appealed against this, and the substitution of a wildcat was accepted as a sacrificial offering, on condition that it be caught alive and beheaded before the god.

However, so many lives were lost trying to capture the wildcat, that they appealed a second time to Penkyi Otu, named after the place where people settled, and he accepted the offer to a young deer.

The party

The Aboakyir festival is celebrated every year on the first Saturday of May.

It is a week of activities that culminates on Saturday with a colorful procession and durbar of the chiefs and people of the traditional area of ​​Efutu.

Two groups of traditional warriors – the Tuafo Number One and Dentsefo ‘Asafo’ groups, move to their respective hunting grounds at dawn on Saturday, wielding sticks and clubs amid chants of war.

The first Asafo company to bring live deer to Omanhen (Paramount Chiefs) is declared the winner of the year. Failure to catch a deer is considered a bad omen, so each Asafo group expects the other to make a catch.

When a hold is made, a message is sent to the chiefs and townspeople within minutes, which sends them into a wild jubilation.

Other people then go to the Durbar grounds to wait and see the animal. Asafo’s jubilant band presents the deer to the paramount chief on the durbar grounds who then performs the rites of acceptance.

In the afternoon after the durbar, there is a massive procession through the main streets of the city led by the victorious group of Asafo followed by the chiefs in rich ceremonial dress amidst chanting, drumming and shouting. dances.

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