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OKYEMAN ASSOCIATION

OKYEMAN is a traditional area in the Eastern Region of Ghana. Historically, it has been attested that the AKYEMS were one of the first Akan tribes to migrate southwards after the fall of the ancient SONGHAI EMPIRE. The Akyem states, commonly known as "AKYEM MANSA", consists of three main independent states, all grouped in the Eastern Region, with common language, culture, customs and historical background. The states are: 

The Akyems, according to history were a part of the then all powerful Adansi Kingdom, the first nation to build mud houses in their kingdom at that time; hence the name "Adansi" (Builders). The Ashanti Kingdom emerged and under the leadership of Nana Osei Tutu, they fought and defeated the Adansis about the 14th Century and absorbed the Adansi Kingdom into the growing Ashanti Kingdom.

The Akyem nations which were then part of the Adansi Kingdom, broke away and crossed the River Pra to settle on its banks to avoid becoming subjects of the Ashantis. Nana Osei Tutu decided to pursue them across the River Pra to teach them a lesson. That was a great miscalculation! While crossing the river with his army, he was shot by the Akyems who were lying in ambush on the other side of the river. He fell dead into the river. This was on a Thursday; hence, the great oath of the Ashantis, ("Meka Yawada"- I swear by Thursday). For this, the Akyems who carried out this defeat became known as "Abuakwanfo" or "Abuakwafo", (Guerrilla Fighters). The Ashantis retreated and this tragedy made it a taboo for any Ashanti King up to the time of Nana Prempeh I (circa 1900) to cross the River Pra to the south except their armies.

Akyem Abuakwa, like all Akan nation-states and tribes, inherit properties and stools through their Maternal clan, except where a personal WILL, affecting the person's personally acquired property has been made in the presence of his family and a form of customary rites have been performed, before such a WILL is accepted as valid by the family. The practice excludes Stools in any form in the Akan states. The clan which has ruled and continues to rule in both Akyem Abuakwa and Akwapim paramountcy is the ASONA clan of the ancestry of Nana Kuntunkununku I, "Odiahene Kan" (first King) of Akyem Abuakwa.

The ODWIRA festival is celebrated yearly in December or early January. The Odwira (purification) is a very important festival during which the whole state, symbolized by the stools, is purified of all its evils. The first stool to be purified is the "Great Paramount Stool" followed by the other stools, one after the other, until all the stools in the state have been purified.

In Akyem Abuakwa, the Okyeman Council has decided that the celebration of Odwira Kese should be at intervals of 5 or 10 years as the Paramount stool and the Okyeman Council may decide. However, theOkuapimhene and the Amanokromhene, who took the Odwira festival to Akwapim, celebrate it annually in Akwapim with the Okyenhene or his representative attending.

Every year, unless decided by the Okyenhene and the Okyeman Council to celebrate it as "Odwira Kese", the festival is celebrated as an ordinary (Mpaegum) with no fanfare. However, when it is declared as an "Odwira Kese", all the chiefs in Akyem Abuakwa in their respective positions and paraphernalia, including the Okuapimhene and the Amanokromhene, are invited to attend the festival and pay homage to the Paramount Stool at Kyebi.

The term "Odwira" means purification of the state at the end of the Akan calendar year. During the celebration, digging and farming are prohibited. The celebration takes a week with various activities taking place each day, and on the final day, the Okyenhene sits in state to receive homage from his chiefs and people, as well as from firms and organizations in and outside Akyem Abuakwa state.

The Akyems give thanks to God for the blessed land with natural resources.  There is a time of the year where the toil of the ancesstors is remembered to make the Akyem land what it is.  The festival celebrating this is the Ohum Festival.  The Ohum festival is celebrated in Akyem Abuakwa in two parts; the Ohumkan and the Ohumkyire.  they also pledge allegiance to their chief.