Akomase Festival

Akomase (literally; okom asa, or “end of hunger”) falls in the period between the second and third week of August but better marked on the 15th Sunday after the Aboakyer festival.

It is said that the actual festival of the people of Simpa is Akomase but its popularity gave way to the Aboakyer festival because of artistic, musical and sportive nature, of the latter.

Penkye Otu feasts during this season and all shrines in Simpa feast as well. Whereas at Otuano, there is yam feasting for a week ending on the Akomase day, the 15th Sunday yam feasting is for a day at all other shrines: Gyaaben ano, Akyeampong ano, Kweikum prama and Alata prama. During these days, the left-overs and garbage from the cooking are not discarded but saved for the final day’s rites. It is customary that Otu’s meal is cooked with fire made by its priestess and the slaughtering and cooking is done by the Osow and elders of Dawur (Obodawur) prama.

It is also the practice that those other prama and shrines that celebrate yam with Otu, do not make their own fire but come to Otuano when Otu’s fire has been made to pick lit firewood to start theirs. At dawn on the climax Sunday, the Akomase day, there is general weeping throughout the town. This is in remembrance of the dead. In the early hours of the day, family members congregate at clan houses, pour libation and then wait for the meal of the season. Members whose relations have died and been buried in the course of the year cook sumptuous meals to feed the gathering. This is said to be the end of rites of remembrance of the dead for those persons.

In the afternoon, shrine houses that participated in the festival carry on flat wooden trays all the garbage and left-overs from the rituals with the carriers clad in white calico along the waist. The assembly point is Nkwantanan (otwekonduase), road intersection where they are joined by those from Otuano. The Akyeampong ano priest leads the procession wielding an ancient cutlass swinging it to the left and right in a manner reminiscent of path clearing to show that they are moving into the bush to dump the garbage. They follow a special path to a spot; a groove at Donkonyiem where the garbage is disposed off.

On the way to the garbage dumping site; a point within Donkonyiem, the procession sing the song;

Otu o oo
Otu oo, oo
woo woo, woo woo
wo so no kwangya
meaning they are leading Otu’s garbage away

During in this procession, those carrying the garbage are in trance till the garbage is disposed at that special spot. This ends the celebration of Akomase and those who go along on arrival at the shrine are given some drink after a final libation is offered to the deity. There is singing and jubilation along the procession. People who are standing by pick small pieces of stone, turn it around the head and body and throw it over the garbage, a gesture that signifies a request for the garbage to go away with any illness, or bad omen afflicting the individual. This is an expression of faith in the deity as a father, protector and deliverer and one that has the ability to bring prosperity.