Festivals are rituals that recur at regular intervals, and which have as their purpose, the expression of beliefs held by a particular community. The most powerful festivals celebrated by Ghanaians are just simple.
Festivals take place at special times set aside by a community in order to commemorate some events of historical, cultural, or religious significance and by the performance of certain rituals; such events are re-enacted, giving both individuals and the communities a sense of meaning and cohesiveness. (Akintan, 2013).
Let’s take a look at the following most powerful festivals celebrated in Ghana and the people who celebrate them accordingly.
Most Powerful Festivals Celebrated By Ghanaians
Homowo is a festival celebrated in Greater Accra, Ghana by the Gas in the Month of May, every year. The history of Homowo festival is coined as a result of famine that raged the forefathers of the Ga people.
However, literature has it that, the famine was eventually followed by a bumper harvest of plant food and fish. Thus, Homowo is explained as the act of hooting at hunger.
The Chiefs and/or Clan leaders of the Ga Traditional Areas sprinkle their traditional food known as ‘Kpokpoi’, which is prepared using cornmeal and palm oil on the streets.
During this beautiful festival, the chiefs of Ga Clans pour libation, singing and praying to their ancestors to seek their support and to give them more food, thus the reason for sprinkling the Kpokpoi all over the street is to signify the abundance of food from their harvest.
Hogbetsotso festival is celebrated by the chiefs and people of Anlo in the Volta Region of Ghana. This is one of the biggest traditional festivals celebration in Volta Region and Ghana as a whole. Anlo has several towns which include Anloga (capital), Keta, Kedzi, Vodza, Whuti, Tegbi, Dzita, Abor, Afiadenyigba, Anyako, Konu, Alakple, Tsito, Atiavi, Deʋegodo, and many other villages.
The festival is celebrated annually on the first Saturday in the month of November. The name of the festival is derived from the Eʋe Language, which means ‘the festival of exodus’ or “coming from Hogbe (Notsie)”. The celebration of the festival was instituted about four decades ago.
Dzawuwu Festival is an annual tradition and thanksgiving festival celebrated by the chiefs and people of Agave Traditional Area in Dabala, in the Volta Region of Ghana. Usually, it is celebrated in the month of February.
During this festival, special portions of food are sprinkled to the gods of the people for protection. Libations are poured and the people renew their loyalty to their rulers.
It is celebrated to mark the bravery of the Agaves in the past who fought and won several wars. It is the time to pay homage to those who have departed.
The festival is celebrated by the chiefs and people of Winneba in the Central Region of Ghana in May, every year. On the first day of the festival, the two Asafo (Warrior) groups in Winneba take part in a hunting battle.
The competition is aimed at getting the best to catch bushbuck alive to be declared winner and brave as they present the live animal to the chiefs and people at a colorful durbar. The animal is then sacrificed to begin the Aboakyer festival. The festival is used to receive a productive harvest and spiritual guidance from their gods for the coming year.
Aboakyer, a name in Fante Language means “hunting for animal”. The essence of this festival is to commemorate the migration of Simpafo meaning “Simpa People” (the traditional name given to the people of Winneba) from north-eastern Africa, in a town of Timbuktu in the ancient Western Sudan Empire to their present land in the Central Region of Ghana.
The Kundum festival is celebrated by the people of Ahanta (or Nzema). It is celebrated to thank God for giving them abundant food for harvest. According to oral history and folklore, the festival began when a hunter, Akpoley, during an expedition, chanced on some dwarfs dancing in a circle.
Ritual dancing is associated with expelling the devil and evil spirits from towns and villages. During the festival, the dance is exhibited by most inhabitants of Axim and her neighboring towns. It comes from the Nzema people and subsequently graduated to the Ahantas in the Western region of Ghana.
Kundum is both a harvest and a religious festival. The start of the festival is based on the day the fruit of a certain palm tree became ripe.
The festival lasts for four weeks, but for the first three weeks most activity, particularly drumming and dancing only takes place at night and on the outskirts of the towns at a place known as Siedu or Sienu. The festivals occur separately in each town that makes up the Ahanta.
The Odwira festival is celebrated by the chiefs and people of Fanteakwa District in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The Odwira Festival is celebrated by the people of Akropong Akuapem, Aburi, Larteh, and Manfi. This is celebrated annually in the month of September.
The festival celebrates a historic victory over the Ashanti in 1826. This was the battle of Katamanso near Dodowa, during the reign of the 19th Okuapimhene of Akropong, Nana Addo Dankwa 1 from 1811 to 1835. It is a time of spiritual purification where the people are renewed and receive protection. It is also celebrated by the people of Jamestown in Accra.
The Dodoleglime Festival is celebrated by the chiefs and peoples of the Ve Traditional Area in the Hohoe district in the Volta Region. The festival is celebrated in November every year.
“Dodoleglime” means coming out of the wall in the Ewe dialect.
The festival is celebrated to mark the migration of the people from Notsie, a village located in Togo, after being enslaved by the wicked king Agorkoli, during the 17th Century to their current milieu in the Volta Region of Ghana.
The people celebrate this festival to commemorate and honour the brave event of their ancestors, who planned their freedom by escaping from the treatment of Torgbe Agorkoli.
Festivals bring people together and foster cultural assimilation. Ghanaians, Africans, and the Western parts of the world cannot do away with their cultures. You should do well to witness one of the most powerful festivals celebrated by Ghanaians.