Festivals are events ordinarily celebrated by a community and centering on some characteristic aspect of that community and its traditions. In Ghana, festivals are celebrated for many reasons pertaining to a particular tribe or culture. usually with backgrounds relating to an occurrence in the history of that culture. Examples of such occurrences includes hunger, migration, purification of either gods or stools etc.
These colorful and vibrant celebrations are held yearly in all part of the country. Almost all these festivals are a week long celebration and they reach their peak during the weekend. In addition, they are climaxed with a durbar held on Saturday and thanksgiving service on Sunday. There are many festivals in Ghana, at least about 50 of them but I’ll narrow my list to 13.
This festival dramatizes the tradition myths and legends of the people. It is to celebrate the harvest of new yams. Odwira also begins a period of remembrance and thanksgiving to the gods for their mercies in the past years. Traditions are performed to purify the town, the people and most importantly, the ancestral Stools of the Chiefs. Location: Eastern region-Akropong Traditional Area. Month:September.
The people of Ogua observe this festival to commemorate a bumper harvest from the sea. They also to perform rituals to thank the 77 gods of Oguaa traditional area for helping them eliminate a plague that had occurred many years ago. It’s colorful procession of chiefs amid drumming, dancing and firing of musketry. Read more here. Location: Capecoast(Oguaa) Month: First Saturday of September.
This festival is celebrated by the Talensis of Tong-Zug just before the planting of grain. The people of Tong zug also make sacrifices to the gods for abundant rain and good harvest in the ensuring year. Location:Tong-Zug, Upper East Region Month:March
It’s a festival celebrated by the people of Elmina to commence the start of the fishing season. Offerings, a regatta and other festivities are held. Chiefs ride in palanquins through principal streets to a sacred shrine to pour libation and sprinkle sacred food. A net is scooped after which permission is given to fishermen to begin the fishing season. Location:Edina/Elmina Central region Month:1st Tuesday in July.
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. It involves walking backwards, performed by women, children, the old as well as the young. Location:Angloga/Volta region- Month:First Saturday in the month of November.
Dipo is a puberty rite performed on adolescent girls to initiates them into womanhood. It is believed that girls who go through this ritual successfully before they “touch” a man become very good wifes. The girls are paraded in an attire close to nudity on the day of the festival. Location:Manya and Yilo Krobo land/Eastern region Month:April
It’s a war festival to re-enact ancient historic exploits of the Busa people. In the thick of drumming and dancing, the gods are invoked for protection and for a bountiful harvest. Also, there is a durbar and thanksgiving to the gods. Location:Sandema, Upper East region Month:December.
Usually held to climax celebration of specific milestone and achievements of the Asante kingdom. The event is marked in two phases. There are solemn private observances which are performed at the King’s palace chambers. The second phase is a public celebration that takes the form of a colorful durbar of chiefs and queen mothers presided over by the Asantehene. Location:Kumasi, Ashanti region Month:Celebrated once every 6weeks.
Kundum is both a harvest and religious festival. The start of the festival is based on the day the fruit of a certain palm tree became ripe. Again, it’s celebrated to thank the gods for the abundance of food as it ushers in the harvest period of the area. Location:Nzema,Western region Month:August/September
The festival for the Talensis in the Bongo Traditional area is held to give thanks to the gods for a good season. Location:Bongo,Upper East region Month:October/November
The people of Ga traditional area celebrate Homowo to hoot at hunger and rejoice in their harvest. It includes a procession of chiefs through principal streets with all twins in the area dressed for the occasion. Also this is done in the course of sprinkling festive food kpokpoi to the gods and ancestors of the state. This meal known as (kpokpoi) is made from maize and eating with palm nut soup. Location: Accra/Ga Traditional Area Month:August/September.
Damba festival occurs throughout the northern regions of Ghana. This celebrations coincide with the new farming season when new yam is harvested. There are also displays of horse riding together with drumming and dancing. Location:Tamale/Yendi/Dagbon/Mamprugu-Northern region. Month:September/October.
The festival involves a deer hunting expedition by two Asafo groups to catch live antelope which is later sacrificed as an offering to their god Penkye Otu. The first group to present its catch to the Chief is declared winner and is highly regarded for bravery. Location:Winneba,Central Region Month: First Saturday in May