SEKYERENE FESTIVAL

There are several festivals (Afahye) celebrated in the Ejura traditional area. Afahye in Akan is a traditional ceremony which is usually celebrated annually.

The principal festival (Afahye) in Ejura include: The yam festival, Tano Konkroma festival, the Krufie festival and Tigare festival. All the wing chiefs celebrate their own yam festivals at different dates. The yam festival of Ejurahene (chief of Ejura) is called Sekyerene festival. It falls on the 9th month of the Akan calendar. It must be recalled that the Akan calendar has 9 months in a year. A month in the Akan calendar hasforty days. The sekyerene festival marks the end of a year and the beginning of a new one. It is celebrated on the last Friday (Fiada Monofie) of the year which usually falls between September and December. The ceremony begins on Thursdays, where general cleaning is done while others play traditional games such as Oware, Nte tuo, ampe, taya etc. The chief `s white stools and his personal chair “Asipim” are taken out from the stool room into the court yard of the palace. They are thoroughly scrubbed with cold water and sand, using sponge. The palace, the court yard, the stool room and the queen mother`s house are thoroughly cleaned. At dawn on Friday, the Chief accompanied by the chief linguist, heralds stool-carriers and some elders in the Asona clan (the custodians of the stool) to go to the stool room to pour libation on black stools. Prayers are said by the chief linguist to Ancestors saying: Grandsires come and receive wine and drink, for today “the edges of the year have met” (afe ano ahyia). Each black stool (nine in number as at now) is then carried upon the nape of the neck of its carriers and taken to the river Asasebon in the town. Water is then drawn with a brass pan (Yaawa) and sprinkled upon each stool with cow-tail switch or Adwira (Portulaca oleracea—the massive use of herbicides iscausing this plant to extinct). With the stools resting on the necks of the bearers the linguist would be crying “Ye bo mo asu oh” meaning we are purifying you! Also, water is sprinkled on the chief, his sons, and members of the Asona clan. After the sprinkling, all return to the palace and the black stools are returned to the stool room. A sheep is slaughtered in the stool and its blood sprinkled on the stools while blessings are invoked as follows “Me nkwaso—life to me, Asanteman nkwaso life to the Ashanti Kingdom, Otumfuo a ote Asikadwa suo nkwaso—life to Otumfuo the occupant of the Golden Stool, Awofo nkwaso—life to parents, Abaatan nkwaso—life to nursing mothers, Akuafuo nkwaso—life to farmers, Yesre nkwa teten—we ask for long life, Yere ma wo bayere foforo ama wadi – we are giving you new yam to eat, Yesre yiedie ma Ghanafuo nyinaa—we ask for prosperity for all Ghanaians. Pieces of the sheep sacrificed are placed on the stools along with sliced boiled yam. The remainder of the yam is giving to people who are permitted to eat new yam for the first time that season or year. These include; The Chief, Queen mother, stool carriers, the adult children of  the chief, adults of the Asona clan, the Akra dwareni (Chief’s soul washers) and the chief’s head wife whose duty is to cook for the departed souls “Nsamanfoo”. After these rituals, the restriction on the eating of new yam is lifted. It is believed that crops in general and yam in particular would not yield their full potential if people fail to respect the restriction. 

 From the stool room, the Chief would then sit in his palace to receive homage from his subjects and other well wishers. Various drumming groups would be in attendance. Notable amongst them are: the Fontomfrom, Kete, and Adowa. In the afternoon, a durbar is held in front of the palace where the Chief receives all his subjects and invited guests. The chief, the queen mother and the krontihene may sit in their respective palanquin and carried around the principal streets of Ejura amid drumming and singing to greet the people and show appreciation to their contribution to the development of the traditional area. The chief then would sit in state to receive homage from the elders, the invited guest and the general public. All the elders and the invited guest go round to greet the chief one after the other in anti-clockwise direction. During this time, the development agenda for the town are discussed. The drumming and dancing continue till nightfall. During the week, farmers would bring to the chief and elders farm produce such as yams, cassava, plantain, vegetables, sheep and goats in support of the festival. The chief in turn donates the yams and sheep to the invited guests.  There is  no activity on the following day, which is Saturday. The second part of the ceremony begins on Sunday; which starts with cleaning of the pantheons where the Konkroma shrine and the other lesser gods are kept. Konkroma is the chief god. The rooms are smeared with white clay (Hyire) and the floors are re-plastered. This work is done entirely by older women accompanied by songs rattles (ntrowa). In attendance to the festival of Konkroma are the custodians of the lesser gods at Ejura. They are; Ta kwabena, Ta Kwame, Ta Konkroma kuma, Ta Amoa,

On Monday which is (Fodwuo)on the Akan calendar, the ceremony continues. All the shrines of the gods are brought out, covered with clothes. The most important are kept under umbrellas. The gods are taken to the Asasebon River to be purified (Asubo).The Ejurahene does not go to the river; but meet the procession as they enter the stool –house of Konkroma. From the stool house the shrines are taken to their respective pantheons. Ejurahene usually offers gifts such as sheep, yams, salt and schnapps to Konkroma and the other shrines. The priests of the various shrines dance till about 10pm to formerly bring the yam festival to an end.

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