One of the most attractive aspects of the Ghanaian culture is the colorful traditional festivals and durbars which are held yearly in all parts of the country. These festivals reveal some common features and beliefs of our society. Through the festivals, the people remember their ancestors and ask for their protection. Festivals are also held in order to purify the whole state so that people can enter the New Year with confidence and hope. Below are some major festivals to which you are invited.
A Description of a few of the major festivals in Ghana:
DIPO (Puberty Rites)
A puberty festival to initiate young girls into womanhood with a parade in attire close to nudity. Held in Krobo land, 50 miles east of Accra. April.
ABOAKYIR (Deer hunting)
A hunting expedition by two Asafo groups to catch live antelope. The first group to present its catch to the Chief at a colorful durbar is declared winner and is highly regarded for bravery. Winneba, 17 miles west of Accra. May.
BAKATUE (Fish Harvesting)
A royal procession of chiefs and stool holders riding in palanquins through principal streets to a sacred shrine where chiefs pour libation and sprinkle sacred food. Pouring of mashed yam and eggs into the Bake (lagoon), followed by scooping with a net, after which permission is given to fishermen to open the fishing season, after a ban. Festival culminates in a regatta. Edina/Elmina, 99 miles west of Accra. July.
FETU AFAHYE (Harvest commemorating first contact with whites)
A colorful procession of chiefs, amid drumming, dancing and firing of musketry. There is a uniqueness in the attire. Sacrifice of a cow to the seventy-seven (77) gods of Oguaa. Cape Coast (Oguaa), 90 miles west of Accra. August/September.
Ceremonies for this festival include a procession of chiefs through principal streets with all twins in the area dressed purposely for the occasion. All this is done amidst the sprinkling of festive food kpokpoi to the gods and ancestors of the state. Accra/Ga Traditional Area. August/September.
This festival dramatizes the tradition myths and legends of the people, and commemorates a period of remembrance and thanksgiving to the gods for their mercies in the past year, and renewal of family and societies. A durbar of chiefs crowns the celebration amidst drumming and dancing. Akropong Traditional Area, 90 miles north of Accra. September.
Originally linked with the birth of Mohammed, the Prophet of Allah. This festival has assumed a traditional character A two-day festival full of pageantry, showmanship and horse riding. Tamale/Yendi, 425 miles north of Accra. September/October.
Symbolizes the migration of Anlos from the tyrannical ruler of Notsie in older day Togoland to their present homeland in Ghana. There is a re-enactment of this migration, which involved walking backwards, performed by women, children, the old and the young alike. Anlo Traditional Area, 88 miles east of Accra. November.
FIOK (War festival)
A war festival to re-enact ancient historic exploits of the Busa people. There is a durbar, as well as drumming, dancing, and thanksgiving to the gods. Sandema. December.
ADAE (festival of Purifying of the Ashantis’ ancestral stools)
Festival of the Asante. Celebrated every 40th day. Especially magnificent when it falls on a Sunday. Kumasi, 168 miles (272 kilometers) north of Accra.