Last Saturday I took a 3hours bus ride to witness the annual Oguaa Fetu Afahye festival. It’s a festival celebrated by the people and chiefs of Cape Coast traditional area every first Saturday of September.
For the first time, organizers of the festival introduced the Orange carnival which saw the whole of Cape Coast go orange. The theme of the festival,was “the falling standards of education in the Cape Coast metropolis, responsibilities of stakeholders”.
Present at this years festival was the paramount chief of the Oguaa traditional area, Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, His excellency the President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, divisional chiefs,government officials, domestic and international tourists. The durbar saw a display of the various Asafo groups and the beautiful procession of Chiefs riding in a Palanquin.
After the durbar which was around 5pm, everyone had places in mind to go continue the celebration. The beach, drinking spots, restaurants, nightclubs were all filled with lots of people. As at 12am, the streets were still choked with cars. the celebration continued till the next day. Finally, a non denominational thanks giving service was held on Sunday to thank the almighty God for a successful festival.
History has it that, there had been a plague in Cape Coast which was devastating and as such demanded that the people of Cape Coast call for an intervention from their gods. However, it is believed that the inhabitants of Cape Coast and its environs were able to eliminate this plague with the help of their gods, hence, the name “Fetu” originally known as “Efin Tu” (“doing away with dirt”). It is also observed to commemorate a bumper harvest from the sea as well as performing rituals to thank the 77 gods of Oguaa Traditional Area.
Preparation for the festival starts in the last week of August. During this period, Oguaa Traditional area receives many visitors from both within and outside of the country. Prior to the actual celebration of the festival(first Saturday of September), the Omanhen is confined for a week. He meditates and asks for wisdom from the creator and ancestors, as well as seeking medical attention where necessary. It is also noted that before the festival, all drumming festivities are banned as tradition demands.
A vigil is observed at Fosu Lagoon near its shrine on every last Monday of August. The following Tuesday sees many activities, such as rituals carried out at the Fosu shrine and canoe riding on the Fosu lagoon. Wednesday is set aside for receiving and welcoming citizens of Cape Coast. This day is also characterized by drumming and dancing and noted as a day of socialization.
On Thursday night, a religious ceremony is held in front of Nana Paprata shrine with accompanying rituals and dancing to summon the spirits of the ancestors to enable the priests and priestesses to sooth say, which normally lasts till the next morning. The aim of this ceremony is to cleanse Oguaa Traditional Area of any bad spirit. During this same period, a bull is always needed to purify the Oguaa Traditional Area.
The fetu festival reaches its climax on the first Saturday of September. This particular day attracts a unique and attentive audience for the procession of the Asafo bands, which usually parade themselves along the street of Cape Coast from Kotokuraba through Chapel Square to the chief palace. After the festive days are over, the grand ceremony is on Sunday. A joint service of all Christian denominations is held at Chapel Square to offer thanks to Almighty God for helping Oguaa Traditional Area to have a peaceful festival.
The Omanhen and his divisional chiefs as well as elders attend the church occasion and take the opportunity to announce the day for next year’s celebration. sorce-wikipedia