Travel & Tourism
Tour Ghana at your pace!
Tour Ghana at your pace!
Embassy of Ghana
Stavangerstrasse 17 & 19
10439 Berlin, Germany
|Tel.:||+49 30 54 71 49-0|
|Fax:||+49 30 44 67 40 63|
Chancery Section: 9.00hrs-15.00hours
Consular Section: Mondays - Thursday
Submission - 09.30 hours - 12.30 noon
Collection - 13.30 hours - 14.30 hours
The Consular section is closed on Fridays
Ghana is blessed with a tropical climate, with daily temperatures ranging between 25 and 38 degrees Celsius. It can be humid in the dense coastal areas, but there is always a refreshing sea wind. In the north, where the landscape is more open and the influence of the Sahara can be felt, it is dryer and warmer. The rainy season is from May to September.
The voltage in Ghana is 220 volts. Power cuts are regular occurrences so take a torch light with you.
More information on Electricity in Ghana can be found at www.ghanaef.org
Many restaurants in the larger towns and cities serve both European and African dishes. For westerners, the African kitchen is an interesting experience. The basis of many African dishes is something that looks like a very thick porridge or puree. It is served covered with spicy soup in a large bowl. The dish is eaten, without cutlery, with the right hand. There are a number of different types of puree, each with its own name. Fufu is the best known and the most popular type of puree. It is made from a mix of cooked cassava and plantain (large green bananas). Mashing the fufu is an extravagant ritual and hard work. Other well-known types of puree are kenkey and banku. The latter is made from corn. Even rice is sometimes turned into a kind of puree, the omo tuo; this dish is considered to be a delicacy. When it comes to soup, Europeans will favour groundnut soup. Other popular dishes are red-red, baked banana with beans, jollof rice, a kind of risotto, and grilled tilapia, a freshwater fish that shouldn't be overlooked. All of these dishes are usually available in many chopbars, simple Ghanaian eating establishments.
In Ghana, food and drinks are offered for sale on the streets, like roast goat meat, pieces of cleaned sugarcane, roast cobs of corn, coconut, bags of iced water, oranges or yam chips.
The Ghanaians drink in "spots", open-air bars, usually walled by brightly coloured boards. All well-known soft drinks like Fanta, Sprite and Coca Cola are readily available, as are the local beers Star, Club and ABC. If you want something extra strong, you should try akpeteshie (local gin), distilled palm wine, a real delicacy that's best when drunk fresh. The drink favoured at local ceremonies is schnapps.
Throughout the entire country there is an extensive network of taxi, bus and trotro lines. Taxis ride mainly in the towns and cities, at any time of the day. Bear in mind that taxi drivers have a tendency to increase their prices if they see a white face. Ask your hotel or your guide what a reasonable price is. Buses from privatised state transport corporation now Vanef ISTC, ride between major towns and cities. These buses are fast, trustworthy and cost relatively little. There is also an extensive system of line taxis, mini buses and trucks. You need to find your way in this world, but the advantage is that you come into contact with the local people. The railway network in Ghana is very limited and there are only trains running from Accra to Kumasi and from there to Takoradi. There are no usually internal flights, although there are plans for this in the future.
For More Information Contact:
Verre Reizen V.O.F
P.O. Box 1504, 6501 BM Nijmegen
Ghanaians observe the Christian holidays of Easter and Christmas. The national holiday is the Independence Day on March 6, when the country remembers the day in 1957 when independence was declared.
The official language is English, which every Ghanaian speaks to varying degrees. Amongst themselves Ghanaians speak several different languages and dialects, of which twi is the most accessible.
For more information, please visit the following link: http://www.travel-to-discover-ghana.com/
AKWAABA - Welcome to Ghana, the safest, friendliest, most affordable, english-speaking country in Africa
Getting there takes you
Tour Ghana at your pace!
Situated in the heart of West Africa, five degrees north of the equator, Ghana is a warm, tropical country with 540km of scenic palm-fringed beaches and the friendliest people in all of Africa. Ghana enjoys lush forests and jungles in the south and vast savannahs in the north. Scenic highland ranges ensure abundant precipitation and green vegetation in the region.
The Republic of Ghana achieved independence from British rule on the 6th of March 1957 and the first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, became the Head of State of the first independent black nation in Africa. The official language is English and the legal system is based on English common law and customary law.
The capital, Accra, is situated on the coast and is a bustling African city housing the seat of government, the parliament and most national institutions. Kotoka International Airport is five kilometers from the center of Accra. The second largest city, Kumasi, is the historic capital of the Ashanti civilisation and home to the King and palaces of the Ashanti. Although Ghana is a Republic its Kings and Queens have played a major role in the governance of the country for over 450 years.
The Portuguese built the Elmina Castle in 1482, their first defence against other Europeans attempting to establish trading businesses on the Gold Coast (Ghana's former name). Cape Coast Castle, Elmina Castle and fort St. Jago have been designated World Heritage Monuments by UNESCO. These impressive monuments are the oldest European buildings outside Europe. There is a shrine to the memory of all who were forced into slavery at Cape Coast Castle.
Ghana is blessed with accessible rainforests. At Kakum National Park, there is a canopy walkway that takes visitors 30-meters high above the rainforest. Mole National Park is ideal for safaris and wildlife and there is a motel and viewing platform with panoramic views.
Throughout Ghana, there are many crocodile ponds and monkey sanctuaries for close-up photos. The numerous lagoons and swamplands are natural nesting grounds for local and migratory birds. There are many spectacular waterfalls within walking distance from the roads.
Ghana is a land of festivals, and visitors are always welcome and encouraged to join in the fun. One of the amazing celebrations is the royal durbar that attracts vast audiences. The King of Ashanti in golden splendour meets his people in Kumasi, an occasion where Ghana's world famous kente fabrics explode in a profusion of styles and colours.
There are lots of activities: safaris, trekking, photography, fishing, canoeing, sailing, watersports, golf, climbing, horse racing and for the daring a trip on a fishing boat on the surf. For the more leisurely visitor there are arts and craft markets, trips down gold mines, cruises on the vast lake Volta, and courses in music, drumming and dancing.
Ghana's warm climate nourishes a vast harvest of fruit and vegetables that are complemented by an offshore and inland fishing industry that all combine to provide exquisite Ghanaian dishes. There is a wide choice of excellent restaurants including fast food, Indian, Chinese, Italian, English, French and Ghanaian, and a host of nightclubs to suit all tastes in music entertainment documents
All visitors to Ghana must be in possession of a valid passport or legal travel documents. All visitors entering Ghana must have valid entry visa or, in the case of Commonwealth nationals, entry permits, issued by a Ghana diplomatic mission or consulate abroad or any other visa issuing authority mandated by the Ghana Government to act on its behalf. ECOWAS nationals and those of other countries with which the Government of Ghana has specific bilateral agreements are exempted. Travellers are strongly advised to ensure that they have all the necessary documents before arriving in Ghana. Check well that your passport will not expire within six months of your intended departure date.
Valid certificate of inoculation against Yellow Fever will be inspected at point of entry.
For more information, please visit the following link: http://www.touringghana.com/
Vaccination against yellow fever is compulsory for Ghana. When asking for your visa and arriving in the country you'll be asked for proof of the injection. Although no other vaccinations are compulsory, it's advisable to have injections against DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, polio), Hepatitis A and Typhoid. You should also use anti-malaria pills. For current information on vaccinations and malaria prevention, contact a travel clinic at least six weeks before departure.
Take a first aid kit with you, including plasters, Norit, Sterilon, Oral Rehydration Salts and medicines for fever, diarrhoea, constipation, insect bites, and sunburn and travel sickness pills. If you take medicines regularly you need to take an exact description of them (not the brand name but the composition and dosage are important). Take twice as much as you need and spread this throughout your luggage, so you have reserves.
On arrival in Ghana take time to acclimatise. The sun's rays are particularly strong in the tropics. Always wear something on your head. Drink lots of water to replace the moisture lost in the heat. Warm drinks are better than ice cold ones, as they are kinder to your stomach and intestines. Tap water in Ghana is of moderate quality. You can wash with it and use it to clean your teeth, but don't drink it unless it's been boiled. Bottled mineral water is available almost everywhere. If you have diarrhoea, make sure you compensate for all the moisture lost by drinking sterilised water or (weak) tea. To compensate for the loss of salt use bouillon, Oral Rehydration Salts or add a small teaspoon of salt and two teaspoons of sugar to your drinking water.
Health facilities are good in the large towns and cities. In smaller towns and villages there are usually mission or government run clinics where western and local doctors provide a good medical service. Most of the doctors speak fluent English and charge prices that match western standards.
8:00 to 17:00 Hours
8:30 to 13:00 Hours
Shops and Market
Stay open until late in the evening
In general, Ghanaians love being photographed, but always ask for permission first. The person involved will strike a pose, so you won't get a very spontaneous shot, but you can get some good photos this way. After you've taken the shot, around 20 children will clamour to have their photo taken. Sometimes people don't want to be photographed because they don't like to advertise their poverty. In Ghana, it's usually the woman who doesn’t want to be photographed. Respect their wishes. Photography can spark off contact with Ghanaians, who are always touched if you send them a copy of the photo. And they like to see pictures of your home - the members of your family, where you live and of sporting events. Rolls in film and batteries are more expensive in Ghana so it's advisable to take everything you think you'll need with you from home. Keep your cameras in their cases, protected against sun and dust. You could take an UV filter with you to protect the lens. It is strictly forbidden to take pictures of military barracks, airfields, harbours, dams and other such buildings.
In general, staffs in hotels and resaurants are dependent on alternative sources of income, like tips. If service isn't included, you should leave a tip of 10 percent. Guides and other people offering services on the streets also expect a tip. You can agree a price with taxi drivers before making the journey and you normally won't need to tip them once you reach your destination. Taxi drivers usually charge obroni, white men, a higher price than their fellow countrymen. The group taxi, which drives along set routes and which you'll have to share with (many) others, usually has a set price. In Ghana, people will probably approach you asking for money. The best advice is to refuse firmly, sending them away with nothing. If you want to help people you should decide yourself where you want to spend your money or time. Don't accept offers from total strangers. The best thing is to give a donation to a good cause: a school, hospital, church and so on.
Ghanaians love music. There's always something to listen to and the locals aren't afraid to use the volume button. The most popular genres are reggae, with Bob Marley still the giant apostle, the religiously tinted gospel music and highlife, the modern Ghanaian dance music. Ghana has a number of local stars in these three genres. A few of them are known internationally, like Kojo Antwi and Abrantie, who play modern highlife, also known as hiplife. The western Diamonds is another good Ghanaian band. The Tagoe sisters and Cindy Thompson are well-known gospel singers.
In the big towns and cities you can always find live music playing somewhere, particularly at weekends. Every Sunday, the pleasure boat Dodi Princess sails from Akosombo to the Dodi Island with lives music on board. For live music you should go to La Beach (Accra) on Sunday afternoon. At the weekend there's often live music playing in the beachside restaurant Next Door in La Beach. Another popular spot is the Afrikiko park restaurant, just behind the Dutch Embassy. There are also plenty of discotheques. One of the most well known is the Macumba at Danquah circle.
Post in Ghana is delivered to post box numbers, not to people's houses. Ghana has few numbered houses. Visiting addresses are usually Descriptive like, for example, “white house opposite police station”.
Ghana is not a hotbed of theft but it can happen, particularly in busy places like markets and bus stations. Avoid keeping money and important papers in your handbag; instead carry it on your person in pockets on the inside of clothes, for example. Split money and documents over a number of places and a number of people. Make copies of your travel papers (passport, visa, insurance policy, ticket) and keep these together with an overview of important details (cheque numbers, consulate address, and so on) somewhere different from the rest of your papers.
Ghana is a thoroughly religious country. There are churches everywhere and on Sunday they're packed. On Sunday morning everyone visits the church, and a service of less than an hour or two is just not taken seriously. In addition to Catholic churches, there are also many protestant communities and even more churches of 'self-made' priests, similar to American television priests. The influence of Islam is evident in the north. Ghanaians are very tolerant when it comes to religion and accept any differences effortlessly. Protestant services are delivered in an African style with much rhythmic song and dance. Whether or not you're religious, a visit to Ghana isn't complete without a visit to the church.
The souvenir shops, stalls and street traders offer a wide choice of woodcarving, gemstones, local tools, hand-painted fabrics and other products. You can also buy CDs or cassettes of African music. Prices are fixed in department stores and supermarkets. But in most other shops, including the more chic ones, it's customary to haggle. If you don't, you'll probably pay around five times more than the normal price.
In general, it's easier to call Europe from Ghana than the other way round, whether it's post or telephone you're talking about. Post from Ghana reaches Europe in around 10 days, but don't be surprised if it takes a month. The same is true for telephones. The Ghanaian exchanges often become overloaded with the result that the line breaks. In the south and the large towns and cities, it's relatively easy to make telephone calls. In the north and in the countryside, it's more difficult. In recent years, Ghana has turned massively to mobile telephony. Mobile telephones work well as long as there's an antenna in the neighbourhood. As yet, there's no network covering the country completely, which can make mobile phones unreachable in some areas.
A cheap way of contacting home is email. In tourist places there are Internet cafes, otherwise your hotel should be able to help you send an email. If you have a yahoo, hotmail or comparable address, you can send and receive messages for very little money. An overview of cybercafes is available on: www.cybercaptive.com or www.netguide.com
The Ghanaian currency is the cedi, which is divided into 100 pesewas. One (1) Euro is equivalent to GHC2 (January, 2012 rate).
Ghana has a number of English-language newspapers, like the Daily Graphic (www.graphic.com.gh), The Ghanaian Times and the Mirror (weekly). The newspapers most critical of the government are the Chronicle, the Staesman and the Independent. There are also interesting weekly publications available like Graphic Sport for fans of African football.
Post in Ghana is delivered to post box numbers, not to people's houses. Ghana has few numbered houses. Visiting addresses are usually descriptive like, for example, “white house opposite police station”.
The people of Sekondi celebrate their annual Kundum Festival between July and August. It is believed that Kundum originated from Ahanta Aboade, a village on the Tarkwa-Takoradi road. Oral tradition states that a hunter from Aboade saw dwarfs dancing to the rhythm of strange music while on a hunting expedition. The hunter watched these strange creatures perform their strange dance for one month and later brought the dance home. Another legend also says that there existed in the village of Aboade a palm tree, which is associated with the origin of the Kundum Festival. The fruits of this tree used to ripen once in a year, and with time, this period became a symbolic calendar in the lives of the people. The ripening of the palm fruit became the signal for the festival to begin.
The Nzemas later adopted Kundum. It is therefore not only the Ahantas who celebrate Kundum, but also the Nzemas. The Sekondi people also adopted Kundum when they settled at Sekondi. Although there are similarities in the way Kundum is celebrated among these people, there are some unique features in the way it is celebrated in every district. Through these festivals, the people remember their ancestors and ask for their help and protection. The festivals are also used to purify the whole state.
The Sekondi Kundum festival may be regarded as a harvest festival, as well as a period for remembering the dead, cleansing the community and setting new goals for the coming year.
It is interesting to note how foreign contact and modern economic development have reshaped the manner of celebrating the festival as the years go by. When the paramount chief sits in state to receive homage from his subject, development projects are planned and means for raising funds are considered.
The unique feature about this festival is that it moves from town to town. If you miss it this week, you get another opportunity to see it at another place.
On the first Saturday of every November, a grand durbar of chiefs and people is held at Anloga, the traditional home of the Anlo-speaking Ewes. The durbar forms a significant part of the week-long Hogbetwotso festival which commemorates the migration (or exodus) of the Anlo-Ewes from the ancient walled city of Notsie in present day Northern Togo, to their present abode in the south Eastern Coastal Wetlands of present day Ghana. They claimed they escaped the tyranny of a wicked chief, Agorkoli, by walking “back-wards” to elude their enemies who might follow them, amidst drumming and dancing to “Husago” and other war songs.
Two weeks after the Anlo-Ewes celebrated Hogbetsotso festival, their cousins, the Some-Ewes celebrate their Keta-Sometutuza at Agbozume, they’re traditional home. This colourful festival of pomp and pageantry is rounded off with a grand durbar of chiefs and their subjects on a Saturday. Chiefs pay homage to their paramount chief and renew their allegiance. The Some area is noted for Kente weaving.
In every February, the chiefs and people of the Agave traditional area celebrate their annual Dzawuwu festival at Dabala, their chief commercial centre. It is essentially a thanksgiving festival where special portions foods are sprinkled to the gods. It also commemorates the bravery of the Agaves of the past who fought and won several wars. It is the time to pay tribute to departed ones and to pour libation for the people to renew their loyalty to their rulers. It has an impressive durbar of chiefs to climax it. Drumming and dancing feature prominently.
The chiefs and people of Dofor Traditional Area in Norther Tongu District have as their major Adidome, a few kilometres from juapong, is the Festival home. It is a festival of pomo and pageantry which culminates in a grand durbar of chiefs on a Saturday. Several activities are performed including pouring of libation, etc. Chiefs ride in colourful palanquins amidst singing of war songs.
In mid-September to September ending, the chiefs and people of Asogli State (Ho) and surrounding areas such as Sokode, Abutia Klefe and Akrofu celebrate their annual yam festival. This is essentially a harvest festival. Cooked yam is sprinkled at the various shrines. This is done before any human being is allowed to cook and taste the real yam. There is usually a grand durbar of chiefs where the chiefs sit in state to receive homage from their subjects. The mode of celebration differs slightly from one traditional area to another.
In November, the chiefs of Gbi (North) Hohoe areas and Gbi (South) Peki areas celebrate their annual festival. This festival rotates from Hohoe to Peki. It is a very colourful festival of pomp and pageantry. Chiefs are carried in palaquins amidst drumming and dancing. This festival is to commemorate the exploits of the Gbi-Ewes of old. New development projects are initiated. It marks the period of family re-union and to attract thousands of people from far and near. The festival is normally celebrated in November.
The chiefs and people of Worawora who are Akans celebrate their newly revived festival called Akwantuteten. This festival is to commemorate the exodus of the people of Worawora from Ashanti-land to their present abode. It is celebrated like most Akan festivals culminating in a colourful durbar of chiefs on a Saturday. Chiefs sit in state to receive homage from their subjects. Thousands of citizens and other Akans throng the town of Worawora to give of their best. The festival, a major crowd puller, involves a pilgrimage to their first settlements up the hills overlooking the hills at which foot the present settlement is located.
The chiefs and people of Agotime traditional area, a few kilometres east of Ho, who are indeed Ga-Adangbes, celebrate their annual Kente festival in August every year. This is a unique festival by all standards. The Agotime people claim they introduced the art of Kente weaving to present day Ghana and consequently have been marking this event with a colourful festival. The festival culminates in a durbar of chiefs and subjects and various types of Kente cloth are put on display. A unique aspect of the festival is Kente-weaving competition and one that brings about the best is crowned. In the evening of Saturday, Miss “Agbamevor” (Miss Kente) is selected. This unique festival attracts thousands of people from far and near including tourists.
As the name implies, the festival is centred on the harvesting of rice so it is a harvest festival. It is celebrated at Vane, the traditional capital of the Avatime people. It is celebrated in the last week of November to December. It does attract a number of tourists. The people of Avatime, who migrated from the Ahanta areas of the Western Region, fought the original people of the area they now occupy, and this is reflected in their drumming, dancing and singing.
In October, any of the four communities forming the SASADU i.e. Saviefe, Afrofu, Sovie and alavanyo (on rotational basis) celebrate what is now known as the SASADU festival. It is a festival of pomp and pageantry meant to rekindle the fraternal relationship that exists between the four communities who are said to be of the same stock. A grand durbar of chiefs crowns the festival.
The chiefs and people of Adaku traditional area celebrate Glimetotoza to commemorate their exodus from Notsie in present day Northern Togo to their present abode. During the celebration, the bravery of their ancestors is put on display in forms of war dances, songs and drums. As usual, a grand durbar of chiefs of the Adaklu traditional area, encompassing several settlements is held.
The chiefs and people of Mepe in North Tongu District celebrate their annual Apenorto Festival. It is a colourful festival where during the durbar of chiefs, the people put on their best of regalia for general merry making. It is also the period to take stock of the previous year’s activities whilst development plans are initiated.
The chiefs and people of the three communities forming the Wli Traditional Area “Agoviefe, Afegame and Todzi” celebrate their waterfall festival in September.
It is a festival to thank the almighty God for being kind enough to them by providing a waterfall that is perennial and that provides sources of water in a virtually arid area. They thank God for their unique gift, which includes a nature reserve with a very high floral concentration. This festival of pomp and pageantry attracts several tourists from far and near.
|Place:||Ga Traditional Are|
Homowo (hooting at hunger) is one of the colourful festivals celebrated by the people of Ghana (Accra) Traditional Area. It is characterised by rituals such as the sprinkling of “KPOKPOI” (the festival dish) to the gods and ancestors for spiritual protection, procession of twins through the principal streets, traditional drumming and dancing and general merry making. A month before the celebration, there is a ban on noise making. A climax of the festival is that from 12 noons to 6:00p.m. Any woman, no matter the status, should accept a hug from a man on the festival street.
||1st Saturday of August|
|Place:||Ada, 71 km east of Accra|
Asafotufiam is an annual festival celebrated by the people of Ada. It commemorates the victories of their warriors in battle and those who fell on the battlefield. The historic event is re-enacted. There are also purification ceremonies, a durbar of chiefs and firing of musketry.
This is the annual traditional harvest and thanksgiving festival of the Shai and Krobos in the towns of Odumase and Somanya.
It is an annual festival to facilitate the recovery of the Sakumo Lagoon for bumper harvest. Preceding the festival is a five-month temporary ban on fishing and trapping of crabs in the lagoon.
On the day of the celebration of the festival, the chief priest/priestess of the Sakumo lagoon perform some rituals at the banks of the lagoon before the general public is permitted into it.
The climax is a grant-durbar of the chiefs and people and general merry-making amidst free-for-all hugging.
It started around the 1920’s and is celebrated on the 1st of January every year and draws large crowds from all over. There are four fancy-dressing groups who participate in the festival competition, wearing masks and accompanied by brass band music. The festival begins in the morning of New Year Day with street dancing and is open to all the performing groups who parade through the principal streets of Winneba. The groups converge at the Advanced Teacher Training College Part where the competition takes the form of a march past and three different dances (Highlife/Blues) performed by the groups. A team of judges award marks and at the end of the day the most versatile group is crowned the winner.
This festival is a novel Christmas introduced to the people of Elmina during the Dutch era of the colonial period. The period coincides with the Dutch Festival, which falls on the first Thursday of January every year and marked in Elmina to signify the bond of friendship between the Dutch and the people of Elmina. A fish-catching ritual is performed at the banks of the Benya Lagoon by the Asafo Companies in their full regalia. The Paramount Chief and his retinue are present at the banks and musketry is fired. On the eve of the festival, the Paramount chief climbs up Fort St. Jago and fires shots at midnight to usher in the New Year. The Paramount Chief rides in a Palanquine the next day to pay homage to the various clans. Libation is poured using locally prepared wine and there is sprinkling of mashed yam as well as shaking of hands with family heads to signify peace, prosperity and good health in the coming year. The Paramount Chief and his elders converge in front of Elmina Castle where a sheep is slaughtered. There is merry making, drumming and dancing throughout.
Aboakyer literally means, “Catching a live deer”. The two Asafo companies using only sticks and clubs move to their respective hunting grounds in the morning of the first Saturday in May climaxing the festival. The first company to bring a live deer for the Omanhene to step on three times is declared the winner of the year. The Deer Hunt Festival is celebrated in remembrance of Winneba's fetish war god, APA Sekum, who was said to have helped the people in various ways. The deer is captured alive and sacrificed to the fetish god. On the eve of the climax of the festival, the “Asafo” companies perform rituals and outdoors their gods. This ceremony is a crownd puller. In the morning of Aboakyer day, the Paramount Chiefs, sub-chiefs, dignitaries and the public assemble at the durbar grounds to wait for the catch amidst drumming and dancing. There is jubilation through the streets until the deer is deposited at the shrine to await its slaughter the next day. In the afternoon, the public admire the works of the gods in the traditional area. This festival is reminiscent of the Jewish Passover festival, because family houses or stools receive the smear of sheep blood and sprinkling of the dough mix meal on the first three days before merry making begins. A significant event is the display of colourful flags by the various “Asafo” companies in the traditional area.
Literally translated means the “Opening of the Lagoon” or the “Draining of the Lagoon”. It is celebrated to commemorate the founding of the town, Elmina by the Europeans. It is also celebrated to invoke the deity, Nana Benya's continuous protection of the state and its people. During the celebration, the Paramount Chief and his sub-chiefs, elders, fetish priests and priestesses, and indeed the entire state offer the sacred food of eggs and mashed yam mixed with palm oil to the river god and pray for peace. All rituals are performed on Mondays. Fetish priests and priestesses and drummers take turns to perform their rituals. There is a performance of the spiritually possessed chief fetish priest as he responds to spiritual revelations. There is a royal procession made up of gorgeously dressed chiefs and stool carriers, some riding in beautifully decorated palanquins. After performing some rituals at the riverside, the chief priest casts his net three times and announces the lifting of the ban on fishing, drumming, funerals and other social activities in the traditional area. There is a spectacular ride on the lagoon by women resplendent in “Kente” cloth and local festive headgears. A royal procession leading to the chief’s palace amidst traditional music ends the festival.
The people of Agona in the Central Region celebrate the festival literally meaning “path-clearing”. The Asafo companies weed footpaths leading to the streams or rivers, farms and other communal places, as well as paths, which lead to shrines. The following day, the whole community assembles at the ancestral shrines and the chief pours libation to the ancestral spirits to thank them for their protection during the previous year and then request for more blessing, abundant rainfall and good harvest for the ensuing year. At the stream or riverside where some of the sacrifices are offered, alligators and other species of fish come out to enjoy the mashed yams sprinkled on the water. With their bodies smeared with clay, the people then parade with twigs and tree branches through the town in groups amidst drumming, dancing and firing of musketry. In a procession, they go through the principal routes and then to the durbar ground to meet the chief and his elders. There is a vigil kept at night and patronized mainly by the youth. It is a time when people come together to renew family and social ties. Performing groups, which are dormant, are revitalized and new groups initiated.
The Pan-African Historic Festival (PANAFEST) is a major biennial event-involving forum for Africans and people of African descent as well as friends of the continent committed to the noble cause of Pan Africanism. The venues for the Panafest are the historical towns of Cape Coast and Elmina. The festival is a celebration of African cultural values, history and civilization. This consists of:
The Fetu Afahye celebrated by the people of Oguaa or Cape Coast Traditional Area is named after the 17th Century Fetu or Effutu Kingdom located some 19 kilometres inland of Cape Coast. A main feature of the festival is the state purification rites, which include the Paramount Chief’s yam festival, and is observed in the form of offering mashed yams to the gods. There is also a display of traditional priests and priestesses on Monday night which attracts large a crowd, mainly the youth and tourists.
Another significant feature is the observance of “Bakatue”. This ceremony involves cutting through the sand bar separating the Fosu lagoon and the sea to allow the lagoon access into the sea presumably to bring more fish into the lagoon. The Omanhene (Paramount Chief) as part of the event pours libation to the deity, Nana Fosu. The Omanhene’s net is cast three times into the lagoon to signify the lifting of the ban on lagoon fishing. Various fishermen’s groups in the municipality organize a regatta or boat race on the lagoon. A grand durbar climaxes the festival.
The Odwira Festival, which is celebrated by the Denkyira people, runs for weeks, beginning at Jukwa, the traditional capital, and ends at Dunkwa-on Offin, the administrative capital. It signifies cleansing or bathing their ancestors and lesser gods. Drumming and firing of guns are done to announce the festival in the palace. There is wailing and weeping by the women amidst the firing of guns by the Asafo companies. Its significance is to remember the departed. On Friday, the two Asafo Companies (traditional warriors) joined by the inhabitants, take to the streets of Jukwa amidst drumming and dancing. Later the Chief is carried in a palanquin to a sacred place where sacrifices are made to departed royals of the Denkyira State.
The festival in Jukwa ends with a durbar of chiefs and people of the area. After the first week in Jukwa, the festival is moved to Dunkwa-on Offin, the administrative capital for the climax of the festivities.
This is a very important, albeit rare celebration of the Ashantis. It is held in a large open space in the capital city of Kumasi. The festival is normally well attended and embraced by Ashantis from all walks of life. Basically, the Adae Kese celebrations are magnified forms of Sunday Adae festivals, celebrated every six weeks in accordance with the Akan calendar which is based on a cycle of forty-two days and nine months in a year. Invariably, the last Akwasidae festival is set aside for the celebration of Adae Kese. Adae Kese is usually held to climax celebrations of specific milestones and achievements of the Asante Kingdom. It was first celebrated to mark the attainment of statehood of a newly celebrated people, in the aftermath of the Ashanti war of independence, otherwise known as the “Battle of Feyiase”, which was fought against the Denkyiras between 1697 and 1699. Adae Kese, like other Akwasidae events, serve as the platform for pledging allegiance to the Kingdom and to affirm loyalty to the occupant of the Golden Stool which represents the unity and embodiment of all Ashanti. The event is marked in two phases. There are solemn private observances, which are performed at the King’s palace chambers by accredited members of the royal family and other functionaries. It includes rituals, aimed at cleansing the spirit of the incumbent King and the presentation of ceremonial sacrificial meal (Eto) and drinks to ancestral spirits. Their blessing and protection guide the Kingdom to prosperity. The public celebrations take the form of a colourful durbar of chiefs and queen mothers presided over by the Asantehene. It involves the display of cherished regalia and paraphernalia accompanied by traditional drumming and dancing as well as firing of musketry amidst pomp and pageantry. The Adae festival is a continuous demonstration of faith in the vision and heritage of the Asante Kingdom, which has existed since the introduction of the Golden Stool in 1700. The festival is also to commemorate and re-enforce the independence of the Ashanti people and an occasion to re-affirm each state’s loyalty to the confederacy instituted in the aftermath of the Ashanti war of independence fought against the Denkyiras between 1697-1699. It provides a platform for the King to meet and share his thoughts with his sub-chiefs and subjects and also reward deserving ones.
Period Celebrated on an Akwasidae date, mostly
Place Kumawu, (Sekyere East District).
Begins with sacrificial rituals on the eve of the actual day. The day starts with a mini durbar of chiefs presided over by the Paramount Chief of Kumawu. Then comes a procession of the chiefs and traditional militia warrior group to “PAPASO”. This is where the sacrificial cow is slaughtered. Anyone can have a piece of this cow if one can withstand the beatings and heckling that characterises attempts to secure a portion of the meat. This display of valour and endurance is part of the festival.
The Festival reminds the chiefs and people of the Kumawu area of the bravery of their ancestors, especially, Nana Tweneboah Kodua I, who offered himself as ransom in order that the Ashantis emerge victorious in the battle of independence fought against the Denyiras. The festival also seeks to purify the state by driving off evil spirits, which may hinder the search for elephant tusks, which are important paraphernalia of the royalty.
Place BONWIRE, (Ejisu-Juaben District
A colourful assembly of local chiefs and people of Bonwire, where participants adorn themselves with beautifully woven Kente clothes and designs, which they have created.
Commemorates the origin of the Kente cloth, Bonwire, over 300 years ago. The festival also seeks to assert the influence of the Kente as an exclusive cloth from this part of the world.
Place Ejisu (Ejisu-Juaben District)
Durbar of chiefs presided over by the paramount chief of Ejisu Traditional area. People from all walks of life call to pay homage to the memory of Nana Yaa Asantewaa the brave Ashanti war heroine and those exiled to the Seychelles with her.
To commemorate the bravery of heroine Yaa Asantewaa I, for resisting attempts by the British forces to capture the Ashanti Golden Stool by leading the famous uprising in the late 1690s.
Place Offinso, (Offinso District)
A colourful durbar of chiefs accompanied by traditional drumming and dancing amid merry making and funfair and firing of musketry.
To celebrate the bravery and wisdom of Nana Wiafe Akenten I, who chose a large piece of land instead of jewelry, when the King was rewarding the various divisions after war against the Dormaas of the Brong Ahafo region, which the Ashantis won.
Perido Last Monday in November/1st Monday in
Place Essumeja, (Bekwai District)
The performance of rituals and durbar of traditional leaders at a site in the Asantemanso forest, known to be the ancestral origin of the Asantes.
Marks the emergence of the first seven Asante ancestors from a huge hole in the ground, marking the origin of the Ashantis.
The chiefs and people of Gonjaland celebrate it in April every year. The capital of the Gonja Traditional Area, Damango, serves as the epicentre of the entire celebration.
Among activities to mark the festival is the procession at night with torches into the bush or outskirts of towns and villages within Gonjaland. There are also Koran recitals to forecast the New Year.
It is celebrated a day ahead of the main Jintigi (Fire) Festival. This festival is held mainly by the ethnic Kamaras, whose main town is Larabanga.
The main activity is the annual consultation of a Koran by the Chief Imam to predict what will happen in the ensuring year.
The said Koran is reputed to have been sent there by an angel. The ethnic Kamaras are the descendants of powerful Imams.
The Damba festival is categorized into three main festivals, namely:
The people of Dagbon, Mamprugu, Gonja, Mamprugui, and Nanumba celebrate it under the lunar calendar. The significance of the festival is to commemorate the birthday of the Holy Prophet of Islam. Activities include prayers and fasting and procession of people on horseback, amidst drumming and dancing.
The Bugum Chugu is celebrated throughtout the Northern Region by the Dagombas, the Nanumbas and the Mamprusis. It is held under the lunar calendar. The main activity is the procession of celebrants with torches at night amidst music and dancing. The significance of Bugum is to commemorate the search for the lost son of an ancient King.
It is a thanksgiving festival to pay homage to the Sonyor _ Kupo_ fetish shrine at Sonyor in the Bole District of the Northern Region. The festival is held among the Gonja worshippers of the Sonyor “Kupo” shrine. It is held under the lunar calendar.
The main activity is the presentation of live bush animals to the shrine.
The Kpini Chugu festival is observed in the Dagbon, Mamprugu, and Nanung Traditional Areas as a minor festival. These areas are made up of Dagombas, Mamprusis, Nanumbas, Kokombas and Basaris. There is no general celebration. It is observed as a harvest offering to the gods.
All Muslems observe this festival throughout the Northern Regions. It is marked through prayers, feasting and general merry making. It symbolizes the end of the Ramadan fasting.
All Muslims hold it under the lunar calendar. There are general prayers, feasting and slaughtering of ram to commemorate the days of Ibrahim (Abraham).
Gobandawu marks the beginning of the new harvest season by all traditional areas in the Northern Regions.The main activity is the sacrificial offering of yams and guinea fowl to in-laws.
The significance of this festival is to give thanks to the gods for a good harvest.
The Damba festival is celebrated by the Mamprusis. The main venue of the celebration is Bawku and its environs. It is held between the months of July and August. The significance of Damba festival is to makr the birth of the Prophet Mohammed.
The Gologo or Golib festival is celebrated by the Telensis who reside at Tenzug. The period of celebration is March/April every year. The significance of the festival is to appeal to the gods for good rains and successful farming seasons. There are no durbars except the performing of a series of rituals climaxed by the public dancing amidst music and general merry-making.
It is celebrated by the Kusasis in the Bawku Traditional Area in November and December every year. Its significance is to give thanks to the gods for good harvest. There are hosts of sacrifices followed by merry-making to climax it.
Boaram is the festival for the Talensis in the Bongo Traditional Area who reside at Bongo. It is held between October and November every year.
Its significance is to give thanks to the gods for a good season. It is characterised by lots of sacrifices to the gods.
It is held at Paga, Chiana, Koyoro in the Paga/Chiana and Koyoro Traditional Areas between November and February. It is a thanksgiving offering for good harvest. During the festival, the people display stalks of their first harvest of millet as a sign of sacrifice and thankfulness to the gods.
This is the annual festival of the people of Sandema in the Builsa Traditional Area. It is a war festival, which marks their victory over the slave raider, Babatu. It is held in December. Various communities celebrate it through the display of war dance. There is also a durbar of the chiefs and people to climax it.
Adaakoya is celebrated at Bolgatanga and Zuarungu by the Gurunsis. It is held between January and February every year. The festival serves to give thanks to the gods for good harvest. The mode of celebration is through various sacrifices followed by drumming and dancing. The climax is a durbar of the chiefs and people.
Kuure is the festival of the people of Zaare who are predominatly blacksmiths. The festival symbolizes the ”Kuure” which is the Gurune word for hoe. The hoe is their main tool for farming and for that matter, livelihood. It is usually held in January/February every year. It is characterised by various sacrifices and later followed by drumming and dancing.
As a thanksgiving offering, the Tengana Festival is held at Balungu, Winkongo and Pwalugu, all in the Tongo Traditional Area. It is one of the festivals for the Telensis. It is climaxed by traditional music and dancing amidst general merry-making.