The Anlos, the people occupying the Anloland, and the Anlo Kingdom celebrate the Hogbetsotso festival once every year in the first week of the eleventh month, November.
In Ghana, festivals are symbolic of the development of every ethnic group all over the country. By this, the importance of festivals in Ghana is the very reason we cannot underscore their relevance anyway.
Right from the North of the country to the South, from the West to the East, every single tribe and ethnic group has that unique festival and the Anlos from the Volta Region go with the Hogbetsotso festival annually.
In this article, we throw special attention to how the Hogbetsotso festival is celebrated by the celebrants and what the relevant parts of the 1 month-long celebration are for the observers.
Hogbetsotso Festival celebration in Ghana
This is how the Hogbetsotso Festival is celebrated in Anloland in the Southern part of the Volta Region, take note:
To start with, Hogbetsotso which is pronounced as ‘hogbechocho’ is a festival celebrated in memory of their journey from their origin to their present-day location. The meaning is ‘movement from the land of exile’.
In the Volta Region, many villages including Anloga, Keta, Kedzi, Vodza, Whuti, Tegbi, Dzita, Abor, Afiadenyigba, Anyako, Konu, Alakple, Tsito, Atiavi, and Deʋegodo are part of the celebrations. Remember that, the Anlo Kingdom is made up of 36 States and Clans.
Read about the 36 States of Anloland here: The 36 States of Anlo Kingdom And The Towns In Them
During the Hogbetsotso celebrations, various ceremonies are held during the festival. They include a peace-making period in which all disputes are ended with the finding of an amicable solution.
The first part of the ceremony before other activities commence is the law of no drumming across the Anloland for 1 month. This according to tradition is to keep some sanity in the land for the spirits. Here, not even churches and schools in the land are allowed to drum.
For many years, it has been a belief that the reason for this traditional period of peacemaking is that the people believe their ancestors lived in harmony with themselves all through their escape from Notsie and that it was this character that made their journey a success.
There is also a purification ceremony of the ceremonial stools where the Ewe people hold a strong conviction that the ancestral spirits of the land reside. These purifications are done through the pouring of libations and ancestral prayers.
This is immediately followed by general cleaning where all the villages are swept and rubbish burnt. This cleaning ceremony happens across all the 36 States of Anloland and almost everyone takes part in it.
The climax of the festival involves a durbar of the chiefs and people of Anlo. The chiefs dress in colorful traditional regalia/ kente and receive homage from their subjects at the durbar grounds.
Various forms of dancing, singing including the dance of the people, Agbadza, and merry-making characterize the entire festival.
How Hogbetsotso Festival is celebrated in Ghana: Activities
- no drumming across the Anloland for 1 month
- the peace-making period in the land
- purification ceremony of the ceremonial stools
- general cleaning and sweeping
- durbar of the chiefs and people of Anlo