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Effutu Marks 2023 Aboakyer Festival with Deer Hunting Race

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The Effutu people in Winneba have once again celebrated their annual Aboakyer festival with a spectacular deer hunting race. Tuafo Number 1 Asafo Company emerged as winners of this year’s race, parading the live animal aloft the durbar grounds to the joyous screams, singing, and applause of hundreds of indigenes and visitors. The festival, which lasts for a week, is celebrated annually to appease the main deity of the Effutu State, Penkye Otu. The event is steeped in traditional and cultural significance as it is believed that sacrifices offered to the gods ward off evil from the town and attract blessings of bounty harvest.

The Effutu people have been marking the Aboakyer festival for generations, with a procession of chiefs of the traditional area, who are adorned in colorful kente cloths and golden regalia. The festival, which literally means the capture of a live animal in Fante, is a sacrifice to their god, Penkye Otu, in appreciation of their safe migration from the ancient western Sudan Empire to their present home, Winneba. The festival’s highlight is the deer hunting race where two Asafo companies, using only sticks and clubs, undertake separate expeditions to catch a live deer to present to the Omanhen. The first company to present the deer is declared the winner.

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Traditionally, sacrifices were offered to the gods to ward off evil from the town and attract blessings of bounty harvest. The Effutu people initially offered a young member of the Royal Family as an annual sacrifice, but the people pleaded with Penkye Otu for an animal sacrifice, and it was substituted for a wild cat, which was to be brought alive and beheaded before the god. Following the many loss of lives during the hunt and capture, they made another appeal, and the god accepted a deer. The deer hunting race was introduced, and it has been a cherished tradition ever since.

For the most part, the festival celebrates the Effutu people’s cultural heritage and their unique history, and it is a time for reunion and thanksgiving. The Effutu people take great pride in their tradition, and the Aboakyer festival is a symbol of their resilience, bravery, and unity. The durbar was graced by several dignitaries, including Mrs. Justina Marigold Assan, the Central Regional Minister, Mr. Stephen Asamoah Boateng, the Minister for Chieftaincy, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives, and members of the diplomatic community.

In conclusion, the Aboakyer festival is an essential part of the Effutu people’s cultural heritage, and it serves as a reminder of their history, their struggles, and their triumphs. The festival is a time for reunion, thanksgiving, and celebration, and it underscores the importance of tradition in the lives of the people. The Effutu people should be commended for their efforts in preserving their culture and their heritage, and the Aboakyer festival should be celebrated and supported as a unique and significant event in Ghana’s cultural calendar.

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