ABOAKYERE FESTIVAL, The Deer Hunting Adventure

Aboakyere Festival is a grand festival held each year in the month of May. This is a major event in Ghana amongst the Effutus(people of Winneba) in the Central Region. Winneba is about 17 miles from Accra.

This festival is a celebration to mark the migration of the Effutu people from the ancient Ghana Empire or Sudan. They were led by a god named Pankye-Otu, who instructed them to sacrifice a young member of the royal family every year to pacify him.

This request was too much for them. He then asked for a life wild cat, which again was causing them a lot of lives of the hunters. So upon several appeals to the god by their traditional priest, he accepted their request for a live antelope or deer.

"Aboakyere" literally, in Akan dialect means, catching of animal. This festival pulls many cultures together for one extraordinary hunt for a deer or an antelope with bare hands.

You won't believe how these men hunt. You might think its the traditional rifle way of hunting, which you shoot the animal and it falls to death. Think again, these warriors literally chase the animal down on their two feet without any weapons nor hurting it. Its something you'll never see anywhere else in the world. This takes strength, agility, speed and the power of a great man.

These hunters are grouped into two asafo groups; Twifo and Dentsifo. If the Twifo group brings the deer first, then it means there's going to be plenty of food for that year and if the Dentsifo brings it first, there's going to be plenty of fish. The first group is also regarded as the bravest men in the town and they earn respect in their families as well.

The contest is ended when one of the groups bring their catch to the chief. As the hunting is going on in the bush, the chiefs and their subjects, dignitaries and tourists enjoy the drumming and singing at the durbar grounds.

The deer is handed over to the priest who in turn presents it to the chief to step on it three times at the durbar grounds. The deer is then slaughtered and sacrificed to the god in a special room. This is a very colourful event and with a lot of fancy dressing.

The Aboakyere festival shows the unique ways of these people. Not only that this is an old festival, it also a time for the people to come together and settle any differences between families and clans.

This festival is one you never want to miss when you visit Ghana around the month of May. Make sure you bring your camera for this occasion. Long live the people of Winneba, long live Aboakyere Festival.

Don't worry if you happen to be in Ghana, before or after May, there are at least two festivals in each month. So everybody will have something to witness and say later. Check the Festival Calender for more information.

Other festivals to check out are the;

Dipo Festival by the Krobos.

Odwira by the people of Akropong and Mamfe.

Back to Ghana Festivals

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