The Gold Coast’s former government center is now known as the Central Region. Until 1877, Cape Coast was the seat of the British colonial authority.
The culture of the region is reflected in the many spectacular events held throughout the year. The following are some of the most well-known festivals:
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The festival commemorates the people’s exodus from the ancient Western Sudan Empire, when they were led by two brothers and a divinity known as Otu. They were told by their traditional priest or mediator between the people and the divine to sacrifice a young member of the Royal family to their god every year after consulting with their god.
This was not good news, so they made a request to their god, who called for a wildcat to be captured alive and beheaded in front of the god.
They settled the god at a site called Penkye before the festival began, and the god was given the name Penkyi Otu. When the people set out to hunt down the wild cat, they lost a lot of men before they were able to capture it alive. The second appeal arose as a result of this. Penkyi Otu accepted a grown bushbuck that resembled a deer.
Simpa’s tribe recited this story during moonlit evenings and chanted it in their war cries. It was held and guarded until it could be written in English and read by everyone.
The Aboakyir festival is now held annually in May and is an important event in Ghana.
It began in the 1920s and is now celebrated annually on January 1st, attracting big people from all around the world.
Four fancy-dressing ensembles compete in the festival competition, donning masks and performing to the accompaniment of brass band music. The celebration begins with street dance on New Year’s Day morning and is accessible to all performing groups who parade through Winneba’s main streets.
The tournament takes the shape of a march past and three different dances (Highlife/Blues) performed by the groups at the Advanced Teacher Training College Park.
A panel of judges assigns grades, and the group with the most versatility is declared the winner.
This event is a unique Christmas that was brought to the inhabitants of Elmina during the colonial period’s Dutch era. The period coincides with the Dutch Festival, which is held in Elmina every year on the first Thursday of January to commemorate the connection between the Dutch and the inhabitants of Elmina.
The Asafo Companies, dressed in full regalia, undertake a fish-catching ceremony on the banks of the Benya Lagoon. At the banks, the Paramount Chief and his retinue are there, and musketry is fired. The Paramount Chief goes up Fort SI. Jago on the eve of the festival and fires bullets at midnight to bring in the New Year. The next day, the Paramount Chief rides in a Palanquin to pay homage to various clans.
Edina Bakatue Festival
The literal translation is “The Lagoon’s Opening” or “The Lagoon’s Draining.” It is observed to commemorate the Europeans’ establishment of the town of Elmina. It is also commemorated to thank Nana Benya for his unwavering protection of the state and its people.
The Paramount Chief and his sub-chiefs, the elders’ fetish priests and priestesses, and the entire state serve the sacred feast of eggs and mashed yam combined with palm oil to the river deity and pray for peace throughout the festival.
On Mondays, all rites are done. Fetish priests and priestesses, as well as drummers, perform their rituals in turn. The spiritually possessed chief fetish priest responds to spiritual discoveries in a performance.
The festival is celebrated by the residents of Agona in the Central Region, which literally means “path-clearing.” Footpaths going to streams, rivers, fields, and other community areas, as well as routes leading to shrines, are weeded by the Asafo firms. The next day, the entire community gathers at the ancestor shrines, when the chief pours libation to the ancestral spirits, thanking them for their protection over the previous year and requesting additional blessings, bountiful rainfall, and a prosperous harvest for the coming year. Alligators and other fish come out to eat the mashed yams put on the water at the stream or riverside where part of the sacrifices are made.
The people then march around town in groups with twigs and tree branches covered with clay, accompanied by drumming, dancing, and musket fire.
They march via the main routes and then to the durbar site to meet the chief and his elders in a procession.
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