Augustine Anyin-gabe Atano


Feok Festival 2020 (Review)

First published in BULUK IN FOCUS


Gathering at the Paramount Chief’s Palace

Preparations for the celebration of the only major event on a Bulsa calendar, the Feok festival, began on a rather speculative note. There was no preparation for the celebrations with almost a month to the celebrations. Some people close to the paramount chief narrated how he was not enthused about this year’s celebration because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He thought celebrating the festival would increase the risk of Buluk recording high a number of cases of the deadly viral disease since people living in severely affected areas may also attend without knowing their status. He softened his stance later after some citizens fervently convinced him to do so.
The usual Feok football games came off, albeit quietly, compared to previous years. The final game was played a day to the grand durbar. Suwarinsa was declared the eventual winner.

On the same day the final game was played [a day to the grand durbar day], war dancers gathered at the Paramount chief’s Palace for final admonition and rehearsal before the big day. One key message of the Paramount Chief that touched the hearts of the many gathered was that Bulsa were united in the past but that same cannot be said today because some people are trying so hard to disintegrate Buluk for selfish interests. He admonished all citizens to work on bringing back unity and togetherness.
Chiefs of other communities used to come and spend the night in Sandema with their contingent on the eve of the Feok festival grand durbar and this often made the town very busy with drumming and dancing throughout the night. This time around, the chiefs only came on the day of the durbar and most of them were not accompanied by drummers. Sandema was very calm this time around.

Guanang Chala or Chelim

The Feok festival 2020 grand durbar came off on 21st December at around 2pm. People who had gathered earlier because they wanted to escape the bad weather were disappointed and had to leave the venue before the commencement of the program. According to some sources, some war dancers did not turn up in time and the day’s activities could not have started without them having to perform the “Guanang Chala/Chelim” first, where warriors have to queue up and take a brisk movement around the town amidst dancing. The program came to a close at about 4pm.
As has become the norm of Feok celebrations in election years, dignitaries at this year’s celebrations were very few. There was no fundraising activity, too. Many people thought that, for the Feok celebrations to have a tangible impact on the development of Buluk, a fundraising activity to help solve identified problems in the various communities is long overdue.

Notwithstanding the poor preparations, many residents came out in their numbers to socialize after the grand durbar was over. There was no Miss Feok pageantry this year. Instead, a Buluk To The World concert was organized to entertain the youth in the evening with local hiplife artists. The headline artiste for this year’s concert was Mani Mandela, an artiste from Buluk whose music is currently attracting good airtime play in the cities. The program started around 7pm and ended the next day around 5am. This program attracted many youths who came out in their numbers and stayed throughout the night to entertain themselves.

The “Buluk to the World” Concert

The sectional Feok celebrations still continued after the main celebrations. Many people have condemned this act performed by some chiefs. These people are of the view that the sectional Feok celebrations should always happen before the main Feok celebrations so that the main celebrations would act as a seal for all Feok celebrations for the year.

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