Asafotufiam Festival: Remembering The Soldiers With War Festival
The Asafotufiam festival is one of the most well-known festivals in Ghana, celebrated by the people of Ada in the Greater Accra region. The festival derives its name from the Ada word Asafotufiami, which translates into Divisional Firing of Musketry in the Dangme language.
Historically, the Adangmes fought a lot of wars all in a bid to establish a territory for their people. Most famous among these wars include the Katamanso war of 1826, the Glover war of 1876, the invasion by the Anglos in 1770 and the battle of Nonobe in 1750.
The people of Ada managed to withstand all these attacks and survived the wars, leading to the successful establishment and survival of the Ada kingdom.
As the wars became prevalent and frequent, festivals and rituals were put in place to welcome their brave soldiers and war heroes. Some of these rituals included feet washing of the soldiers and firing of muskets to announce their coming back.
In the later years, from the 1900s, the wars came to an end, and with no wars to be fought and attacks by other tribes, the rituals performed to welcome their brave soldiers were abolished as they were no longer needed.
The people however still felt the need to put in place a festival to celebrate their soldiers, ancestors and past chiefs who all contributed to the successful establishment of Ada. This paved the way for the establishment of the Asafotufiam Festival in the 20th century, as a replacement for the welcoming rituals performed for returning soldiers.
Activities to earmark the festival include firing of musketeers, drumming and singing of war songs as well as pouring of libation by the chief priests.
The most important event within the festival is the procession to Kpomkpompaya, the place which served as departing point for warriors going to wars as well as landing point for soldiers returning from wars. At this famous ground, some ritual activities like libation pouring, prayers to ancestors and washing of hands take place.
Today, the Asafotufiam remains the single most important traditional festival for the people of Ada and is held in high esteem by the people. Celebration takes place in the first week of August each year.
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