WHEN A FESTIVAL TURNS SOUR
Festival time is a period in the year when people suspend working activities to celebrate a special event, often religious, chieftaincy, or harvest, among other things.
In the chieftaincy setting, a durbar of chiefs and people is organized to take stock of the past, and chart a way forward, in the ensuing year.
Normally the event is christened home-coming, as citizens across the country proceed home to re-unite with their families and friends in an atmosphere of tranquility.
However, when the occasion turns sour because of a negative development, it gives cause for concern.
The report filed by our Northern Regional Correspondent last Friday, indicating that two people died while nine others suffered cutlass wounds during the celebration of the annual Bugum (Fire Festival ) in Tamale, is indeed , very disturbing.
According to the report, one of the deceased, Alhassan Ibrahim, was said to have stabbed himself to test the potency of his magical powers, while the other, who was identified as Abass, was stabbed by a colleague.
Three others were said to be on mission in a hospital as a result of motor accidents during the festival which we are told, serves as a period of pacification and supplication.
The Times condemns in no uncertain terms, the act of hooliganism among the youth, especially, on such sacred occasions, during which people are supposed to gather to reflect and take stock of the past and chart a course that would lead to peace and prosperity.
It is important to ask ourselves why such a festive occasion should be celebrated with deadly weapons leading to loss of lives and property.
The Times believes that various festivals should serve as platforms for reunion and exhibition of the rich cultural heritage of the ethnic grouping rather than being characterized by acts of violence, which invariably ends in fatalities.
The deaths of the two people and the brutal assault of many others are indeed, uncalled for, and we hope that other communities would not follow this path during such festive occasions.
Let us use our festivals to foster unity and initiate programmes that would benefit our communities, instead or resorting to violent acts that would bring pain and anguish to families.
Ghanaian Times Page: 4 Wednesday, December 22, 2010