History has it that the mystic significance of the Bakatue festival is to bring all sons and daughters of Edinaman together in a very unique way. Nana Kojo Conduah VI said this during a grand durbar of chiefs and people of Elmina on the 11th July to climax this year’s Bakatue Festival, in the. Bakatue Festival. Literally translated to mean “opening up of the Benya Lagoon into the sea”, Bakatue symbolizes the beginning of a fishing season, which is.

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See Ghana and Cultural Sites. This festival has remained much treasured and constitutes the priceless cultural heritage of its citizens.


Bakatue falls on the first Tuesday of July the month of Ayewoho each year. It is celebrated in honour of the founder of the central town, Elmina the headquarters to Edina Traditional Area. To commemorate the discovery, a hut was erected where the emigrants refreshed. Kwa Amankwa bowed and worshipped and in the solemn silence there suddenly appeared before him a god animate of the Lagoon now called river Benya.

The self-manifesting deity made human company with Amankwa for eight day period at the expiration of which a covenant was concluded between man and god. That a Shrine was to be constructed by Amankwa in honour of Nana Benya which was to be the consecrated abode of the tutelary deity and from which Nana Benya would be invoked in times of need.

That schedule was to be w90rked out from the phases of the moon which stipulated that the first Tuesday of the month of July of each calendar year shall be observed as a festival day in commemoration of this man-deity meeting.

This once a year meeting has withstood the test of time and though Benya has been met and consulted without ceremony in times of need, whenever this meeting is executed with ceremony, the result is the Bakatue Festival.

There have been Occasions when the usual funfair has not accompanied this ritualistic meeting. The mystic significance of Bakatue Festival is, first and foremost, to bring all sons and daughters of Edinaman together in a very unique way. It is a historical festival which portrays our unsurpassable rich cultural heritage; that which spiritually inspires us and makes us proud as a people of with a common ancestral descent.

Bakatue Festival

It is a festival, which has for us a sacred upliftment of hearts. As an agricultural area, the celebration invokes fertility abundance of food and fish as it invokes good health, happy marriages and worthy children: Politically it calls or peace and unity for the inhabitants of Elmina town and peaceful co existence between Elmina Township and its satellite traditional allegiance settlements. Unlike Edina Bronya which is the annual libation day in January, there is not much bakaue re union.

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There are no rituals performed in homes.

The ritual of Bakatue is centered on the Shrine, Fetish Priests and the Omanhen and his elders up to the Iibation on the lagoon embankment. It is set aside and consecrated to the tutelary deity and consequently observed as a sacred day of rest.

The day is married to various engagements in war with states, which were hostile particularly the last Edina Fante war which was fought on Tuesday, 26 May, When linked with Bakatue Festival it is a day of great Jubilation as the people of Edinaman celebrate the commemoration of the founding of Elmina by Kwa Amankwa The festival day Tuesday is synclosised with the opening harvest and he ushering of new crops into the markets.

Bakatue Festival – Wikipedia

The opening up of the lagoon. It has puzzled many in view of the obvious fact that unlike stagnant lagoon which needs to be dug and opened up by artificial means when inundated. Benya naturally flows into the sea.

The term Bakatue therefore is only ironically applied and no Implements are necessary or employed to effect cestival opening into the sea as it is a tidal lagoon.

A state proclamation is made by means of gong gong the traditional stool — to — people information giving by which. Consequently, tradition requires widow to cleanse themselves by terminating. The willful neglect of this expensive obligation may force a defaulter to go into banishment, as non performance of the purification rite is sacrilegious. It has mounted on it a white flag always facing easterly direction symbolising the glorious victory over the Fantes in the war of On the following day, the moral significance of the festival is reflected by the vulgarity of demonstration by men folk causing a lot of embarrassment to women of childbearing age.

Hot spices stung on ingeniously contrived sticks are manipulated into the eyes, nose, mouth and ears of any woman met on the streets from midday to sunset.

The young men fesfival this as penance for wrongs and defilement blameable against women folk. The sacrificial ceremony symbolised the official proclamation of the strict observance of all taboos as already listed above. The Omanhen and his elders must witness the ceremony. The sounding of the Royal State drum Aketsewta warns people to take cover and give way to the deity.


The drum also plays a very important role in the invocation ceremony. This signifies the condemnation of immorality on the side of men which is believed to be an offence against the state as a whole. The traditional choristers Apaafo and drummers Tentenfo get ready to sing and beat the drums with Omanhen, Chiefs, and Stool holders. State Courtiers and all concerned citizens take their right positions and get themselves ready to watch the drumming and dancing and to consult the oracle and answer spiritual enquiries when necessary.

At the appropriate time the 77 states gods descend simultaneously and, spiritually possessing the performing priest, direct and control his actions and utterances.


In the olden days the sacred shrine itself danced to the rhythmical drumming. Observers who missed the first Dombo fextival a turn at the second but generally no festvial habitant wants to miss any. On Monday evening the eve of the festivalAkyemfo assemble in front of the Shrine to present a sheep as sacrificial offering in compliance with custom to signify the advent of the lifting of the ban impose six weeks previously.

The trained and experienced observer can tell which god is on the ascendancy by the dancing style of the priest on floor. This resounding of the third and final Dombo takes us to Tuesday morning the much-awaited day. The attire sets him apart from all the other chiefs who wear gold ornaments.

The royal procession passes through the principal streets of Elmina and stops for a brief period of time at the sacred shrine where final purification ceremonies are performed. The solemn procession resumes with one of the courtiers carrying wooden tray believed to contain, among other things all the ills and curses of the state. The exchange of yarn and fish between Eguafo and Edina respectively at this material time is a pointer of the historical close-knit unity of the two traditional areas.

Cultural Sites and See Ghana.