BRIEF HISTORY OF SENYA BERAKU TRADITIONAL AREA
The Senya Beraku Traditional Area is a paramouncy of the Awutu Senya District Assembly situated along the coastal area between Accra and Winneba. The community is with a population of about 35,000 with a higher percentage of the population presumably females.
The economic activities of the people in the community are mainly fishing and farming. The community is anticipated to have a landing beach (Wharf) in the coming years. Education is of strong interest and has had a smooth implementation in the community with an established health center actively involved in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
The community has Fort Good Hope located along the Gulf of Guinea and was built by the Dutch and is considered to be the third fort built in the Central Region of Ghana.
The issue of sanitation is also a challenge to the community with the open defecation at the beach shore. Measures are been put in place to address it.
The people of Senya Beraku Traditional Area are Effutus. They trace their roots to the Guans and are part of the early settlers in Ghana.
In the early years, the land and people were ruled by the OSOW (high priest) of the Nkyewano Shrine. In the late 1820s, when the Ashantis attacked the people of Senya Beraku Traditional Area, the then ruling priest was too old to lead his two (2) Asafo companies to war. When his elder’s son refused to stand-in, a daughter of his, Nkwanta Otuba led the Asafo’s and successfully repelled the attack. However, the heroine died in the action.
From then, the two (2) Asafo companies thus ; the Tuafo Asafo No.1 and Dentsifo Asafo No.2 constituting the OMAN created a Chiefly stool and gave it to Nkwanta Otuba’s family-the Twidan family of Senya Beraku to honor her. Regardless, the Senya Beraku Traditional Area has two(2) royal families thus, Anona family.
Akomase is the principal annual festival of the people of the Senya Beraku Traditional Area. It is the climax of a series of Mini celebrations and rituals. The following are the rituals and mini festivals that are observed leading to the Akomase Celebration;
- Road clearing – Mid February.
- Kotokyikyi – First week in March
- Ogyapa – Late March
- Ewudu – Early May
- Apireba – Late June
- Edwodi – July
- Ban on sail
- Ewube – Mid August
THE AKOMASE FESTIVAL CELEBRATION
This is an ancient and unique festival of the people of Senya Beraku Traditional Area is celebrated in the latter part of August. The festival period is from Friday to Tuesday, except for minor modernization like having a durbar of chiefs on the Saturday, the sequence of events has remained unchanged.
Friday Morning– Road clearing: Members of Dentsifo No.2 company carry out the traditional clearing of the old Winneba road from Amunoposo to Kwekure Ano. Libation will also be poured.
Friday Afternoon– “Atteh Kwesi Ndaase” ceremony literally means, thank you my oldman for giving me new cloth. On this Friday afternoon is set aside for children only. Children proudly turn out in their new cloths and led by a youth. The children jubilate through the town amidst dancing and singing a folk song which is special to the occasion.
Saturday- Remembrance Day: This is the people’s Remembrance Day. Women wake up at dawn and observe this day by being sorrowful whiles weeping and mourning from house to house in memory of their deceased relatives. This is followed by the preparation of the traditional food “Mpompo”. Mpompo which is eaten by family groups after sprinkling part to the gods of the land and pouring of libation.
Sunday– Seasonal Greetings and Hooting of “Eppah Kwesi”: In the morning of this day, a house to house exchange of seasonal greetings with good wishes for long life and prosperity is observed for re-union of families’ thus promoting peace and unity among people. The afternoon takes all members of the community to the grand celebration grounds at the state grounds in front of the Fort Good Hope while the chiefs Odefey’s talking drums is pea throughout.
Monday– Road Clearing: Members of the Tuafo No.1 Company carry out the traditional clearing of the old Accra road from Kyenkyeso to Krobo Ano amidst pouring of libation.
Tuesday- Road Off: This day is the day for a grand state durbar and a general merry making to round-up the festivity. On this day, everybody puts on his/her best cloths and all drumming and cultural groups try to put up their best performances.
The story of Akomase from the various rituals and mini festivals to the climax vividly portrays an indigenous system of local people and classical practices of traditional religion.
PAST AWUTU ODEFEY (CHIEFS)
- KING WYETEY I
- KINGWEI-(KING KWEI)
- QUEEN DODE AKAABI
- KING ASHAMOAH
- KING WYETEY
- KING NDAMKWEI
- KING SAAMI KUMA
- KING ODINKU
- KOJO OTABIE
- TETTEH APAKEY(REGENT)
- KWEI,S REGENCY
- KING WYETEY AGYEMANG II
- KING AWORABI
- KING WYETEY AGYEMANG II
- KING WYETEY AGYEMAN LARBI II
- KING WYETEY AGYEMANG OTABIL III
FESTIVALS OF AWUTU TRADITIONAL AREA
This falls on the fourth week of June, every year. On this occasion, the Asafo Companies led by their respective Tsupis clear paths leading to the companies following gods, shrines and sacred groves in Awutu town.
AKOTOAKOTO TAYIANO APRA-ANO POOYOO,OGUAA,OJOBI AMANFOSO KWASHIE ARMAH-ABO KUNTUNSHIE ABETEN
The festival starts with vigil on Thursday and ends on Monday with a durbar of chiefs and the Asafo companies at Eguafo dedebiano in Awutu. This is in no doubt a colourful durbar and festival.
- Ahour: On Thursday, first week of July, every year
- Dede-ano-abi: Friday, first week of July, every year
- Afi Tutu: Monday, second week of July, every year
- Epe Akoni: Thursday second week of July, every year
- Nyompokyawe: Saturday second week of July, every year
- Openi: Sunday second week of July, every year
- Abaka Oshikafo: Tuesday second week of July, every year
- Odum Kwaku: Wednesday third week of July, every year
- Odae Tutu: Friday third week of July, every year
- Gvepi(Anarko): Sunday third week of July, every year
- Gvabaa-in-Namitey-Ano: Sunday third week of July, every year
- Abaka Oshikafo No 2: Tuesday third week of July, every year
AWUBIA FESTIVALS OF AWUTU-MAN
This is the most grandest and colorful festival of the chiefs and people of Awutu Traditional Area. It is celebrated annually, and it falls on Thursday in the fourth week of August, and ends on the following Thursday in the first week of September, every year.
‘Awu’, meaning ‘wheat’ or ‘Grain’ and ‘Bia’ means reaping or harvesting, thus ‘Awubia’ means cutting harvesting of Wheat. Awubia is therefore, the grandest annual festival of the Awutu speaking people of Awutu Senya District. It is celebrated with pomp and pageantry.
The Awubia commence on Thursday evening each year and ends on the following Thursday evening. The general observation is marked by the sprinkling of red marsh (dough) with palm soup called in Awutu language as ‘MPOMPO’. It is done on Friday by ‘Dode Ojobi’ family, on Saturday by Shiapa family and on Sunday by Pre family, according to Awutu constitutional rankings laid down, with their respective libation being poured to the departed souls of their ancestors and the gods of the Awutu Traditional Area.
Early Friday morning in the Awubia week, wailings and lamentations of women are heard for those who have died within the year. A few hours after day break all the members of each family unite and assemble in the family house or place of sepulchre. Here, seated on the graves and some on seats, the oldest members present, address the spirits of the dead and invoking their aid pray to them to accept the family offerings, guard each member of the family from misfortune, guide them in their several undertakings, prosper and bless them in their several endeavors.
On Monday the climax which is the fifth day of the commencement, a grand state durbar is held in remembrance of the departed Awutu Adefey (chief of the Traditional Area). On this day, all the chiefs ride in palanquins and hammocks. It is therefore a colourful day on the festival calendar.
During this occasion, many of the distant member of each family travel to Awutu, the capital town of the state, to renew and strengthen family ties and pray their homage to the Awutu Odefey. The chiefs and people also meet to plan development project for the town.
On Tuesday, that is the sixth day of the festival, all newly installed chiefs swear an oath of allegiance to the Awutu State.
Wednesday is characterized by display of Fetish Priests and other Cultural Groups with Thursday marking the end of festival. All black stools are then laid down. The gods of the Traditional Area and other spirits that have caused the prosperity of the crops of the season must first be served with the food before human nature takes the part left. Many young men in the area organize as many entertainments as possible, such as football matches, traditional music, dancing and singing competition of musical bands during the week which make the Awubia very grand, lively and impressive.
This Awubia resembles the ‘Jewish Passover’ festival because family houses or stools receive the smear sheep blood and sprinkling of MPOPO in the first three days – described super before merry-making starts. Asafo Companies in the Area also display their Company Flags.
The Awubia is the festival of the forefathers of Awutu.