ABOUT CENTRAL REGION
Ghanaian festivals are a colourful and vibrant part of the culture. Each year festivals and durbars are held in various parts of the country to celebrate the heritage of the people.
Throughout the year festivals and durbars are held in various parts of the country for reunion, development purposes and to strengthen beliefs of society. Most people believe that festivals help them forge close bondage with 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.
Importance of Festivals
Festivals are very important in several ways: historically, religiously, socially,economically, culturally, morally and politically in the lives of Ghanaians. See our timetable of festivals below.
The rich cultural heritage of the people are usually being manifested during festivals With the people of Asante chiefs, they may be decorated in the traditional Kente cloth gold ornaments and carried in a palanquin especially the Asantehene or the paramount chief (omanhene). Ghanaian hospitality can also be seen in this regard. The ways the people speak and relate to others portray their culture of friendliness.
It brings most of the citizens together. This helps them to initiate development projects and to contribute financially towards these projects. Visitors who also come to witness the festival contribute economically to the locality.
It makes the people know more about their history. For instance, the Nyidwoo festival of the people of Esumegya makes the people and for that matter Asantes it know more about their origin. Also, the Homowo Festival reminds the people of Ga-Adangme to know much about how they have come out of hunger by settling at their present day area. It makes the people recollect the noble past of their ancestors, and to express their gratitude to them.
It gives the people chance to asses the efficiency of their chiefs. Most citizens who left the town for so long a time return to see whether the traditional ruler (the chief) had implemented development projects agreed upon. Homage is paid to the chiefs. Sub-chiefs also renew their allegiance to their immediate boss. For example, local chiefs to paramount chief (Omanhene) and in Asante Omanhene to the Asantehene.
Government ministers even take advantage of the festival which has brought a lot of people (Citizens) together to announce development projects, government policies to the people and to educate them on important issues affecting the locality, town or an area.
- The people believe in the existence of the ancestral spirit, hence they ask for forgiveness of offence committed, petition the supernatural powers for material prosperity, peace and long life. There is continuity between the dead and the living.
It strengthens all to play their roles as good citizens. It provides a forum where the chief must be more effective, morally upright, and Accountable to the people. For instance, the Apoo festival celebrated by the chiefs and people of Techiman traditional area gives the people chance to talk about the inefficiencies of the chief as well as his ill doings. It again reminds the youth to lead morally acceptable life so that, they may grow to become good people, whose lives are worthy of emulation by the future generation.
It serves as reunion of family members, relatives and love ones. At this time, quarrels and misunderstandings are settled. It provides a forum where marriages among people within a particular geographical area can be transacted. The youth at this stage get the chance of arranging marriages, (to court). Besides, the period is characterised by merrymaking and entertainments.
The Region is headed by the Regional Minister. The Region has twenty (22) Metropolitan/Municipal/District Assemblies made up of one (1) Metropolitan Assembly, seven (7) Municipal Assemblies and fourteen (14) District Assemblies.
The Assemblies are headed by Chief Executives who are appointed by the President with the subsequent approval of their respective Assemblies (Local Parliament).
The Region has twenty-three (23) Political Constituencies each represented by a Member of Parliament. The Ruling party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) controls ten (10) of the seats, whilst the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the biggest opposition party, occupies thirteen (13) seats.
- EMANCIPATION DAY
- OGUA FETU
- EDINA BAKATUE
- EDINA BRONYA
- ABOAKYER FEST.
- MASQUERADERS FESTIVAL
Panafest is a biennial cultural event dedicated to the enhancement of the ideals of PanAfricanism and the development of the Pan- African continent. It is evolving into a major Pan- African commemorative celebration manifesting the essential ideals of Pan-African unity as an indispensable foundation for the struggle for a total economic and political liberation and advancement of the Global African family.
It underscores the potential power of culture for a vigorous pursuit of a total political and economic independence of the Global African Family.
Panafest is marked by wreath laying ceremonies, Pan–African Conference, durbar, trade fair / bazaar, visit to historic sites, theatre and film festivals and reverential night.
There is also music, dance and carnivals. Panafest is used as a medium to establish the truth about African history and the experiences of its people using African Arts and Culture. It is celebrated in July/August
Emancipation Day is an annual event that has been celebrated in Ghana since 1998.
Emancipation began with a campaign against the chattel slavery at the end of the 18th century. The campaign was successful and the slave trade was abolished by law in 1807.
Emancipation Day has sought to secure the commitment of all Africans to the true and full liberation of the African continent. It has called on Africans around the world to unite. Emancipation Day seeks to create and develop a unique sense of unity, co-operation and understanding amongst Africans. It is climaxed with a grand durbar at Assin–Manso in the Central Region on August.
Festival Fetu Afahye Festival is an annual festival celebrated by the chiefs and people of Oguaa Traditional Area in the central region of Ghana. A ban on drumming and all sounds of drums to create a peaceful atmosphere for the gods and the invocation for peaceful transition precedes the festival. A ban is also imposed on fishing within the ‘Fosu’ lagoon.
One other significance is a ban on funerals observance to dislodge any expectant bad omen that may attempt to mar the peaceful observance of purification rites in order to create a congenial atmosphere and support for the ensuing climax of the festival. The festival is celebrated in the first week of September every year and it is climaxed on Sunday with a thanksgiving church service.
Edina Bakatue Festival is observed annually by the chiefs and people of Edina. “Bakatue” literally means the ‘opening of the Lagoon’. Fishing being the main occupation of the Edina people, the festival marks the beginning of the fishing season. The festival also seeks to invoke the spirit of the ancestors and the sea god/goddess to help the people during the fishing season. It is a week- long activity involving processions with drumming, dancing and singing.
There is also the regatta competition on the Benya Lagoon. A durbar of chiefs and people mark the end of the celebration on the first Saturday of July.
Edina Bronya is connected to the annual New Year Festivities which the Elmina people celebrated together with the Dutch. Edina Bronya, also called Edina Christmas coincides with the Dutch festival on the first Thursday of January every year and it signifies the bond of friendship between the Dutch and the Elmina people.
Traditional ceremonies preceding this celebration includes the exhibition of the
“Aketekete” war drum captured from the Fantis in 1868. The Number 7 Asafo Company performs some rites in the Benya lagoon.
On Edina Bronya day, families assemble in their ancestral homes and give food and drinks to the departed in a ceremony called “Akor” or “Akordo-konye do” that is, ‘a place that we reunite, settle all disputes and become one; a place where the living and the dead become one’. There is merry making after this ceremony.
Aboakyer is celebrated by the Efutus of Winneba Traditional Area along coastal Ghana in May every year. The festival is believed to have originated about three hundred years ago when the Efutu people inhabited their present home. The god of the people, ‘Penkye Otu’ is believed to have received royal blood as sacrifices in the past.
The people pleaded with ‘Penkye Otu’ to accept a live leopard instead of human beings which it accepted. The people again proposed a live deer to the god realizing the live leopard was claiming lives, Penye Otu again accepted. The festival involves the two Asafo companies, Dentsifo and Tuafo competing to be the first to hunt down and capture a live deer using only clubs. The captured deer is sacrificed to the oracles at the Penkye Otu shine.
Akwambo Festival literally means ‘path clearing’ is celebrated by the people of Agona in the Central Region of Ghana. The Asafo companies weed footpaths leading to the streams or rivers, shrines, farms and other communal areas. Libation is poured by the chief priest to the ancestral spirits.
At the stream where some of the sacrifices are offered, alligators and other fish species
come out to enjoy the mashed yams sprinkled on the water. A vigil observed at night is mainly patronised by the youth, it is a time to renew family and social ties. It is held in the latter weeks of November.
Odunkwaa Festival is a week long celebration which starts on Easter Monday and climaxes on a Saturday with a durbar of chiefs in the area where they coverage at the palace to pay homage to the Paramount Chief amidst drumming and dancing. The festival has two venues namely Abakrampa (The seat of the Traditional Area) and Abura Dunkwa (The Administrative Capital).
The fencing of the Odum tree is a dominant feature of the celebrations. The tree is regarded as sacred, believed to have protected the people from attacks during their wars. Okyir Okyir is often celebrated in the second week of October by the people of Anomabo. Okyir festival is the last of all the festivals of all the fantes.
It is a sign of cleansing or purification of the community from filth, evil, hunger and diseases. Homes in particular and towns and villages are cleaned and cleared of all manner of undesirable articles.
A procession through the town by various Asafo companies, Chiefs and Organizations precedes a grand durbar of Chiefs and people of Anomabo Traditional Area on Saturday. At the durbar grounds, the Chiefs and the people take stock of the year’s achievements as well as their problems. Completed projects are commissioned and new ones launched.
Entertainment activities in a variety of forms such as dances, concerts, football matches
and afternoon jams as well as crowning of Miss Okyir are organised to make the festival grand, interesting and memorable. Ahobaa Ahobaa is celebrated by the people of EnyanKakraba – Saltpond in the Central Region. It commemorates the end of an epidemic and in honour of a man called “Ahor” who sacrificed his life to end the epidemic. It is held annually in the third week of September.
Masqueraders Festival started around the 1920s and is celebrated on the first of January every year, drawing crowds from all over. There are fancy dressed group 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 performing groups who parade through the principal street of Winneba.
The parade converges at the Advanced Teacher Training College (now University College of Education) park where the competition takes the form of a march past and three different dances.
A team of judges award marks and the most versatile group is crowned winner. Odwira is celebrated by the Denkyira people and runs for weeks.
It begins at Jukwa the Traditional Capital and ends at Dunkwa- On-Offin the Administrative Capital. It signifies the cleansing or bathing of their ancestors and lesser gods. Drumming and firing of guns announces the festival in the palace. There is wailing and weeping by the women amidst the firing of guns by the Asafo Companies in remembrance of the departed.
The Paramount Chief is carried in a palanquin to a sacred place where sacrifices are offered to departed royals of the Denkyira state. After the first week of the festival in Jukwa, it is moved to Dunkwa-OnOffin for its climax.