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KEEA Municipal

Culture, Festival and Customs

The KEEA District has some unique cultural festivals, notable among them, Edina Bronya and Bakatue, and Nyeyi. These festivals attract a large number of visitors from home and abroad, including tourists from Europe and America.

Edina Bronya
The Bakatue Festival celebrates the “opening” of Benya River, and is thus closely connected to the main economic activity of fishing. Edina Bronya is also called the Elmina Christmas. Bronya is actually a Libation Day during which ancestors are remembered. 

The Edina Bronya festival is connected to the annual New Year festivities, which the Elmina people celebrated together with the Dutch. It takes place from the first Thursday to Sunday of the calendar year.  The traditional ceremonies preceding this observance of the festival includes the exhibition of the Aketekete war drum captured from the Fantis in 1868.

On the Wednesday before the Thursday, the No. 7 Asafo Company perform some rites in the Benya Lagoon.  On the Thursday, families gather in their ancestral homes and give food and drinks to the departed in ceremonies called Akor or Akordo-korye do (i.e a place that we reunite, settle all disputes and become one, place where the living and the dead become one). 

It is after the Akor ceremonies that merriment starts because all citizens of the town come home.  These days the weekend of that Thursday is used for a durbar of chiefs, which is also very attractive to visitors.

Bakatue
This is a festival celebrated to commemorate the founding of the town. It is celebrated either on the last Tuesday of June or the first Tuesday of July. The day is consecrated to the tutelary deity of Elmina called Benya.  The celebration is synchronised with the last battle with the Fantis on the 26th of May 1868 and the harvest and admission of new crops into the market.

The rites of this ceremony cover six weeks during which the Elmina State prohibits fishing in the Benya Lagoon and all forms of noise making and merriment in the town.  Further, lying-in-state of the dead is forbidden. Fish of herrings and crops sales are also forbidden in the markets.

On each of the three Monday nights preceding the festival, fetish priests and the people assemble before the Benya Shrine for  Akom play during which oracles are consulted. ( Domo, a special seasonal fetish dance at which the Benya oracle is consulted. Akom was the common fetish dance played on Sunday afternoons.  It is no longer played).

These exercises culminate on the sixth Tuesday when the rites reach a climax. The ceremony itself involves feeding the supposed 77 gods in Elmina with 154 eggs and mashed yam in palm oil by throwing them into the Benya Lagoon. A cast net is used to fish from the lagoon 3 consecutive times and at the end of each round musketry is fired.

To the visitors the ceremony is captivating because of the social events accompanying them. These include a ground procession, a durbar of chiefs, drumming, regattas, various other competitions, dinner parties and ball dancing.

Open Spaces And Recreation
Open spaces can generally be of two types: open spaces that are incidental, and open spaces deliberately created and safeguarded for recreation or some other purpose. Open spaces fulfil an important role in the usually crowded urban environment, such as in Elmina, Komenda Abrem Agona, Eguafo and Berase Townships. 

The creation and maintenance of open spaces for either recreation or for any other purpose in the district leaves much to be desired. The impact of population growth, lack of planning, and the limited enforcement of District Assembly bye-laws on illegal building activities has led to a gradual deterioration of the number and quality of open spaces in town and villages in the district.

 Many areas earmarked as open spaces, some of which could be used as recreational grounds have been used for other development purposes, either as residential or business.  Open spaces in towns in the district are mainly incidental, or occur as compounds or forecourts of churches and schools. Most open spaces are covered with dirt; larger spaces usually serve as community playing fields and smaller ones as community gathering areas (e.g. for funerals).

Public spaces are predominantly dried, dusty, and have bare patches, where the combination of land degradation and human traffic precludes the growth of any vegetation.  It would be advisable to specifically identify open spaces in the big towns as points for relaxation, upgrading the physical surfaces, introducing some vegetative cover and providing basic sanitary services.