Ghana, like most other countries, celebrates various festivals to mark special events of history and activities. With a population of 31 million spread across 16 regions, the country is very diverse in terms of people, culture, food, and other aspects of life. In this post, we take a closer look at some of the major festivals in Ghana, the regions they’re celebrated, and the people who celebrate them among other interesting things you certainly might want to learn about.
Enjoy some popular festivals in Ghana…
1. Homowo Festival
Celebrated by: The Gas
Region: Greater Accra
This is the festival of the people of Ga, who occupy the Greater Accra region of Ghana. With Accra being the capital city of Ghana, the celebrations attract people of all walks of life from within the region and outside who troop in to witness and observe the various cultural displays. The festival is characterized by street dances and the consumption of Kpekpele, a traditional meal made of fermented corn and palm nut soup eaten with smoked fish.
During the celebration, the chief sprinkles this food around as a way of pleasing the ancestors for a good harvest. Homowo is done to remember a severe famine in history and the eventual heavy harvest that followed it with the help of the gods.
Before the end of the celebration which happens in August, the traditional authorities declare a ban on noise making during which all forms of loud noises from places like pubs, churches, and funerals cease.
2. Akwasidae Festival
Celebrated by: The Ashantis
Time: Sunday, once every six weeks
This is the festival of the people of Ashanti and is celebrated on Sunday, once every six weeks. They celebrate this to bring together the
people of the land under the kingship of the Otumfour, the prominent traditional ruler of the Ashantis. A trip to one of these celebrations will give you a rich display of the Ashanti culture as various sub-chiefs come to exhibit their dancing, drumming, and other traditional activities.
Manshia, which is the seat of the paramount chief, is a repository of rich cultural artifacts, costumes, and others dating centuries back. During this period, the general public gets the chance to go watch them for pleasure and education. Watching chiefs hand-dance on a palanquin, and don beautiful kente cloth with special traditional sandals is always a pleasant thing. Festivals in Ghana usually feature beautiful spectacles to amaze onlookers.
3. Aboakyir Festival
Celebrated by: Effutu-Winneba
Time: 1st Saturday in May
Effutu-Winneba people celebrate Aboakyir which literally translates as “catching an animal.” It’s one of the most popular festivals in Ghana with huge patronage. It is celebrated on the 1st Saturday in May and Fantes and Winneba people from home and abroad go back to join in
During the celebration, two groups of people go hunting for an antelope in the forest. In the end, the group that is able to catch and bring home a live antelope faster is considered the most daring, powerful, and strong. The animal is then sacrificed amidst various rituals to the gods. The chiefs and people don very colorful costumes and walk through the principal streets amidst singing and dancing.
4. Hogbetsotso Festival
Celebrated by: Ewes
Time: First Saturday in the month of November
The list of festivals in Ghana will not be exhausted without the mention of Hogbetsotso. It’s celebrated by the people of the Volta region of Ghana in the month of September. It is celebrated to mark the exodus from the terrible rule of King Agorkolis by walking backward to Notsie. Lots of rituals go on during the celebration including, purification preceded by the cleaning of the environment.
Starting from the Volta Estuary, the procession continues till the Mono River in Benin. At the height of the celebration is when the chiefs don beautiful garments in front of their subjects and onlookers.
5. Chale Wote festival
Celebrated by: Street Artists
Region: Greater Accra
This is a festival that draws hundreds of thousands of people to Jamestown, a suburb of Accra, predominantly occupied by the Ga people. It’s characterized by street painting, graffiti, and fanfare. Celebrated in the month of August, the festival is one of the festivals in Ghana that draws scores of foreigners including Africans in the diaspora.
You can safely say this is the most modern celebration with a large percentage of the celebrants being in the youth category. Apart from the many street food fairs, there’re several musical performances as well as live shows. The festival inspires innovation and critical thinking as different artists come up with interesting concepts and designs to challenge one another.
6. Bakatue Festival
Celebrated by: People of Elmina
Time: First Tuesday of July
In the month of July each year, the chiefs and people of the Elmina township come together to celebrate the Bakatue, which is one of the popular festivals in Ghana. It involves drumming and dancing and this happens prior to the start of the fishing season. The fisherfolks also display their canoe sailing skills across the Benya Lagoon.
One of the highlights of the celebration is the net-casting ceremony which is essentially a sacrifice calling on the gods for a bumper harvest in the season. Bringing together families, fun-seekers and the general public bumps up the economic activities of the area during the Bakatue festival.
7. Kundum Festival
Celebrated by: Ahanta and Nzema people
Time: Between August and November every year
The Ahanta and Nzema people of the Western regions of Ghana celebrate the Kundum festival. Spreading across the four weeks of August, the festival is very popular, mainly among the people of the western region. They observe it to thank Good for a bumper harvest of food. It
is believed to have been started by a hunter by the name Akpoley who came across dwarfs dancing in circles and subsequently introduced it to his people.
Used to expel evil spirits from the village, the dance is performed during the celebration. It also involves sacrificing fowl in public followed by singing. The festival brings together the people as it also affords them the opportunity to undertake important developmental activities for the community.
Also read: 22 Best Tourist Sites in Ghana You Must Know
There you have it with the prominent festivals in Ghana!
These are some of the popular festivals in Ghana that go on throughout the year. If you’re a tourist looking to enjoy the rich cultural heritage of Ghana, take a visit to any of these festivals and you won’t be disappointed.
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