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The Aboakyer Festival is a deer hunting festival celebrated on the first Saturday of May in the township of Winneba located in the southern coastal region of Ghana, West Africa. After a deer has been caught, the Effutu people join together and celebrate. The Aboakyer is a major annual celebration in Ghana.
See the fact file below for more information on the Aboakyer Festival or alternatively, you can download our 21-page Aboakyer Festival worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
ORIGINS OF THE FESTIVAL
- The Effutu people, considered one of the earliest settlers of Ghana, have been celebrating the Aboakyer Festival for several centuries.
- The origins of Aboakyer can be traced back to the ancient rite of making sacrifices offered to the god known as Penkye Otu for the sake of producing a good harvest.
- The Effutu people migrated from the Western Sudan Empire to the town of Simpa, presently known as Winneba.
- They believed that Otu had protected them throughout their journey of migrating.
- A traditional priest who acted as a mediator between Otu and the people instructed them to offer human sacrifices as a sign of their appreciation for Otu’s protection.
- A young member of the Royal Family was offered every year as a sacrifice for several years before the people requested to change the type of sacrifice as they feared that they would eventually run out of members of the Royal Family.
- Otu in return agreed and asked for a wild cat to be caught alive and beheaded at the shrine upon its presentation to the god.
- The sacrifice was to be accomplished annually in a festival.
- Even so, in capturing wild cats, many people had lost their lives.
- For a second time, they appealed to Otu to provide an alternative.
- In place of a wild cat, a young bushbuck was agreed upon to be offered as a sacrifice to Otu.
- A bushbuck is a small antelope with a reddish-brown coat that is commonly found in southern Africa.
- A bushbuck resembles a deer, which is why the Aboakyer Festival is oftentimes referred to as the Deer Hunting Festival.
- The task of capturing a live bushbuck was undertaken by two hunting groups, namely the Tuafo and Dentsifo.
- Aboakyer’s origin story was sung in war chants and told during moonlit nights.
- The story was eventually inscribed in English (from the Fante language) when the colonial Europeans arrived.
- The Aboakyer Festival is celebrated on the first Saturday in May.
- The overall celebrations last all weekend.
- The festival is a main exemption of the hunting ban as it is a significant part of the Simpa people’s culture.
- In the Fante language, Aboakyer means “catching a live animal”.
- On the first day of the festival, two Asafo companies (traditional warrior groups in Akan culture in Ghana) go on a hunting expedition to catch a bushbuck to be used as a sacrifice.
- By going to the hunting grounds and using sticks and clubs, they begin their hunt in the morning.
- Each of the two troops competes with each other by catching a live bushbuck before the other one does.
- The town’s chiefs and the masses assemble at the colorful durbar grounds and join in the dancing while waiting for the troops.
- The first Asafo company to catch a bushbuck and present it at the durbar is declared the winner of the year.
- Celebration fills the streets until the deer is presented at the shrine prior to its slaughter the following day.
- In the afternoon, the people show admiration for the display of colorful flags made by the Asafo companies in the traditional area.
- In the evening, the Asafo companies gather in a ceremony to perform rituals that attract a huge audience.
- Once the bushbuck is beheaded and sacrificed, that marks the beginning of the Aboakyer Festival.
- The festival’s significance lies in its symbolism for receiving a productive harvest and spiritual guidance from their gods.
DEER HUNTING IN GHANA
- In the early years upon the establishment of the deer hunting festival, the population of deer was still high in Ghana.
- However, as the years have gone by, people kill deer and ignore wildlife protection laws.
- Capturing a live bushbuck has grown increasingly difficult as its population continues to decrease.
STAYING IN WINNEBA
- For those who wish to visit Winneba and take part in the festivities during Aboakyer, it is possible to stay on the beach in Winneba or in rest houses and hotels in the area.
WHAT ELSE TO SEE IN WINNEBA
- The town of Winneba is a fishing town.
- The main attraction to see when in Winneba is the Posuban Shrine, a structure symbolizing the achievements of Asafo companies.
- Asafo warriors used to protect the Fante people from invasion.
- Another attraction to see is the local pottery craft at Winneba.
Aboakyer Festival Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Aboakyer Festival across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Aboakyer Festival worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Aboakyer Festival which is a deer hunting festival celebrated on the first Saturday of May in the township of Winneba located in the southern coastal region of Ghana, West Africa. After a deer has been caught, the Effutu people join together and celebrate. The Aboakyer is a major annual celebration in Ghana.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Aboakyer Festival Facts
- Decode The Origin
- False Turned Factual
- Oral Tradition
- Events Illustration
- Picture Narrative
- Aboakyer Word Search
- Aboakyer Photo Vault
- Hunting Festivals
- Watch And Learn
- Further Discussion
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Link will appear as Aboakyer Festival Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 21, 2021
Use With Any Curriculum
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