The chiefs and inhabitants of Cape Coast, in Ghana’s Central region, celebrate the Fetu Afahye celebration. Ghana is the cultural home of many indigenous people who cherish and support their way of life. One of the exciting events is the Oguaa Fetu Afahye festival.
Every first Saturday in September, this festival is held. The Fetu Afahye is observed by the Oguaa people of Cape Coast in remembrance of the last epidemic that claimed so many lives. A pandemic allegedly reportedly wreaked havoc on the Oguaa neighborhood. Cape Coast was thus founded as a fishing community by a man, Oguaa who gave his name to the place.
Because of the plague’s catastrophic effects, the people prayed to their gods before it subsided and the earth was purified. In the local language, the word “fetu” is an abbreviation for the phrase “efin tu,” which signifies cleaning the soil.
This celebration pays homage to the cleansing that prevented the epidemic and gives thanks to the native Oguaa region’s gods.
Before the festivities begin, the Omanhene, the great Chief of the Oguaa people, spends a full week in solitude with the gods. a manifestation of appreciation for the 77 gods of the Oguaa Traditional Area.
Making noise, dancing, having fun, or fishing from the Fosu Lagoon are all prohibited during this period. The Amisaffo, who are the guardians of the lagoon, execute a cleansing rite there to please the gods, ward off bad omens, and ask for a bumper crop and a plenty of fish.
Amuntumadeze Day, a day set aside for environmental cleanup, sees everyone in the neighborhood cleaning up. On the last Monday in August, participants congregate near the Fosu lagoon for a vigil where priests and priestesses make requests to the gods.
After the rituals at the Fosu temple begin the following day, the Omanhene conducts the regatta on the lagoon. Cutting through the sand bar separating the Fosu Lagoon from the sea will allow the lagoon to reach the sea and bring more fish into the lagoon. The Omanhene pours libation for the divinity Nana Fosu. High Chief Omanhene then throws his net into the lagoon three times to represent the lifting of the ban on fishing in it.
If the High Chief’s net catches a lot of fish, a big harvest is forecast for the following year. Afterwards, muskets are fired into the air, and celebrations with dancing, drumming, and fun start.
On Wednesday, the locals who have come to the festival are greeted. A separate vigil is held at Nana Paprat’s shrine every Thursday night, complete with rituals and drumming. The next day, the High Chief sacrifices a bull to atone for his sins.
The Omanhene (paramount leader of the Oguaa) spends a week in seclusion before to the start of the Fetu Afahye ceremonies to consult with the gods. Fishing in the Fosu Lagoon is prohibited during this time, and drumming, dancing, loud music, and other forms of celebration are prohibited inside the municipality.
The Amissafo (lagoon guardians) perform a cleansing ritual there to ask the gods to fend off evil omen and grant them a bumper crop of food crops and a plenty of fish. The atmosphere will be thoroughly cleaned on a designated day. Amuntumadeze (Health Day) is observed on this day, and everyone cleans and beautifies the neighborhood.
The celebration proper begins on the last Monday in August when the populace holds a vigil near the Fosu Lagoon where priests and priestesses invoke the gods by dancing and drumming all night long. The Omanhene offers a libation before the ritual rituals at the Fosu shrine continue the next day. There is then a regatta in the lagoon.
During this event, the sand bar separating the Fosu lagoon from the sea is cut through to give the lagoon access to the sea, supposedly to attract more fish into the lagoon. As part of the celebration, the Omanhene (Paramount chief) offers libations to Nana Fosu. The Omanhene then formally declares the lagoon open by tossing his net into the water three times to denote the end of the lagoon fishing restriction. If his net hauls in a lot of fish, it is interpreted as an omen of a bountiful crop the next year.
When this is finished, everyone can go fishing in the lagoon. As the festivities begin with dancing, drumming, and general merriment, muskets are shot into the air.