The festivals of Ghana, an immersion into the traditions of the African peoples
The festivals in Ghana allow you to experience directly the traditions and culture of the African people. Among these, the funerals of the Ashanti people should be mentioned: a festive celebration in memory of the deceased, which constitute a distinct event after the burial. This ceremony marks the passage to the wold of ancestors and guard-spirits of the clan and revered as such.
The Ashanti chiefs, in the shade of large coloured parasols, participate in these celebrations surrounded by the whole courtyard. After the ritual greetings, expressed according to the rules of tradition, they take their seats to witness the dances, which perpetuate over time extremely refined gestures rich in an erotic and warrior symbolism.
The Awukudae festival is literally intended as “the Wednesday party”. It is celebrated around the various traditional Ashanti chiefs to propitiate a long-lasting protection of the tutelary spirits and to strengthen the unity of the people around their leaders, who present themselves to their subjects to receive gifts. Unique opportunity to attend a real colourful court’s ceremony which is punctuated by large drums that articulate the different moments of the ancient ceremonial.
Every year, around the end of April, the Krobo peole of Ghana go celebrate one of the most spectacular female initiation ceremonies in Africa, called “Dipo”. During a long weekend, through ancestral rites, the girls are initiated to the role of mother and brides. The climax of the rite is the moment when the girls are stripped of their baby clothes to be covered with beads, produced by the Krobo people themselves. The aim of this ritual is to emphasize the freshness and beauty of the young women, ready to sumptuously enter adult life.
Festivals of Ghana
The Millet Festival celebrates the harvests and it is enriched by a profusion of colours and jewels. The traditional chiefs attend the festival dressed up in their most beautiful estates and parade to the rhythm of the tam-tams surrounded by an enthusiastic crowd as well as by the whole court. The party is particularly appreciated by the fans of glass beads, as the Krobo are producers and take advantage of the festival to exhibit them.
Bakatue on the other hand is the festival that commemorates the founding of Elmina. During the celebration the divinity Nana Benya is invoked to maintain its protection over the city; on this occasion, the Clan Chief and all the priests offer sacrifices to the God of the river and pray for peace.
The Aboakyer festival is also known as the “deer hunting festival” and is organized in honour of the tribal god of Winneba. During the ceremony, people sacrifice a deer in honour of a deity called Penkye Otu. The celebration began about three hundred years ago when Winneba was first inhabited. At that time the inhabitants placed the settlement under the protection of their God, who still protects them today. The festival represents citizens’ gratitude towards divinity.
Aboakyer, a festival of Ghana
The Aboakyer festival involves two groups: the Tuafo and the Dentsifo, who compete with each other to quickly enter the bush and hunt the sacrificial deer first. Armed only with sticks, the group that first hunts the deer runs back home intoning powerful songs of war and victory. The final act of the celebration brings together the Tuafo and Dentsifo who go together to offer the gift to their god.
Asafotuiam is a commemoration of the fallen in the Ashanti-British wars, during which the Ashanti fought strenuously against the British invasion. The purpose of the celebration is to show respect for the main Ashanti leaders. Oguaa Fetu Afahye, on the other hand, was originally the harvest festival and today became an opportunity for the chiefs to show their power by showing their beautiful “Asafo flags”, the symbol of power.