The multi-color festivals in Ghana are a lively and exciting part of the culture. Every year, there are festivals in Ghana take place in different parts of the country to celebrate the tradition and custom of the people.
Throughout the year, there are interesting festivals in Ghana that you can experience at least once in your lifetime. Traditional festivals open with extraordinary cultural and historical frequency. Festivals of art, food, and music come with innovative vibrancy, excellent street tastes, and thrilling unique rhythms!
There are about seventy major annual traditional festivals in Ghana celebrated to mark harvest seasons, the history of migration or territorial expansion, and more. Such celebrations approve family and communal relationships while worshipping the beautiful cultures and establishing people’s spirituality.
The festivals in Ghana as follow:
|S.No||Month||Festival||How is it Celebrated?|
|1||January||Bugum Festival||Celebrated with processions.|
|2||January||Edina Buronya Festival||Celebrated with sacrifices to the gods.|
|3||March||Damba Festival||Celebrated with pageantry and showmanship.|
|4||May||Aboakyir Festival||Celebrated with Brass bands, dancing, performances of folklore, and parties.|
|5||May||Homowo Festival||Celebrated with drumming, dancing, and singing.|
|6||June||Nkyidwo||Celebrated with drumming, dancing, and other activities.|
|7||July||Bakatue Festival||Celebrated with a colorful regatta of canoes on the Benya Lagoon and processions.|
|8||August||Asafotu-Fiam Festival||Celebrated with processions, drumming, singing, and dancing.|
|9||August||Odambea Festival||Celebrated with the re-enactment of the ancient lifestyles of the people.|
|10||August||Kundum Festival||Celebrated with traditional drumming and dancing.|
|11||August||Afenorto||Celebrated with the pouring of libation and funeral obsequies.|
|12||August||Chale Wote Festival||Celebrated with performance, conversations, and extensions of culture.|
|13||September||Akyempem Festival||Celebrated with drumming and dancing.|
|14||September||Fetu Afahye Festival||Celebrated with durbar of chiefs and processions|
|15||September||Sometutuza Festival||Celebrated with different types of exhibitions.|
|16||November||Hogbetsotso Festival||Celebrated with dancing and singing.|
|17||November||Agumatsa Waterfalls Festival||Celebrated with a dance performance.|
|18||November||Kwafie Festival||Celebrated with a pageant, drumming, and dancing.|
|19||November||Apoo Festival||Celebrated with recreational cultural activity.|
|20||Once in six weeks||Adae and Akwasidae Festivals||Celebrated with drumming, dancing, and singing.|
The Bugum festival has also been a significant event on the traditional calendar. This celebrates the flight of Naiyul-Lah Mohammed from Mecca into exile in Medina in AD658. The festival is held in Dagbon, Gonja, Nanumba, and Mamprusi. The events start with processions from nearby villages. All the villagers gather at night at the Palace of the Chief with lighted torches. The ceremony brings light to the streets after special utterances by the president. Festive drumming and dancing extend until early morning hours.
Edina Buronya Festival
This is the native edition of Christmas that is celebrated on the first Thursday of the New Year specifically by the people of Elmina (Edina). The festival was inspired by the Portuguese colonists, who celebrated a similar event.
It is a time of purification for the people of Edina, offerings to the gods, remembering of the dead, and welcoming of the New Year. Families pour beverages and invite friends across the city to take part in dining, and merry-making.
Initially connected with Islam to mark Mohammed’s birth, the festival slowly took on a conventional theme, rather than an Islamic one. The two-day festival is jam-packed with pageantry and showmanship celebrated in the towns of Dagbon, Gonjaland, Mamprusiland, and Nanumbaland.
Aboakyir simply means “game hunting.” This famous festival is celebrated by the chiefs and people of Winneba in May. The festival starts with a competitive hunt in a neighboring game reserve between two traditional groups, where each attempts to capture a live antelope. This is an adventurous activity test the strength, courage, commitment, and insight of the two competing groups.
The antelope is sacrificed as a sacrifice for a good harvest and an abundant fishing season. The highlight of the festivities is a durbar and a parade of the chiefs and warrior groups in their bright attires. Brass bands, dancing, folklore shows, and parties make this an exciting event.
This harvest festival is celebrated in the Greater Accra Region. It emerged from a time of great drought that was subsequently followed by a bumper grain and fish harvest. A special dish made from ground corn, steamed and mixed with palm oil and eaten with palm nut soup is the best part of this month-long festival.
Prayers are given for a happy and prosperous year. Every Ga chief is accompanied by followers across his region where he sprinkles some of the unique dishes called “kpokpoi” and spills libation with drumming, dancing, and singing. It’s merry-making for Gas, and particularly guests are invited home to join in the feast.
A very popular festival, celebrated annually in the Ashanti region by the people of Essumeja to honor their birth or how their ancestors arose from a hole in the ground one Monday night, followed by a dog and lion in the midst of drumming, dancing, and other events. The gods are prayed for blessing, safety, and wealth.
The festival marks the beginning of the fishing season, which is the principal livelihood of the people of Elmina. It is celebrated on the first Tuesday of July every year in Elmina and emerged centuries ago, years before the advent of Europeans. The grand ceremonies include a durbar of chiefs and they perform net casting. The fish they catch will be offered to the Gods.
Asafotufiam “is an annual warrior festival of people of Ada. It honors victories in warfare, as well as those who died on the battleground. This is also a period when warfare is exposed to young men. The festival also welcomes in the harvest season, performing particular rituals and ceremonies. These involve purification rituals. The people dress in a traditional battle dress to re-enact these historical events and stage a mock battle as well. The ceremony sees durbar of chiefs, a colorful procession along with drumming, singing, and dancing through the streets.
This event symbolizes the relocation of the people of “Nkusukum” from Techiman (500 km away) to their current location centuries ago. “Odambea” means “fortified link,” a name derived from the role played by the “Nkusukum” people in keeping the migrant groups in contact with each other after their exile from Techiman. The re-enactment of people’s ancient lifestyles is a unique attraction of the festival.
Kundum is celebrated by the coastal tribes of the west region, the Ahantas, and Nzema. The festival travels west from Takoradi to town after the city at weekly intervals, beginning in August. Ceremonies involve prayers for a good harvest for the ancestors. Drumming and dancing feature prominently.
The Mepe people celebrate this festival to establish family and friendship relationships and to pay respect to their ancestors by pouring out libation and funeral obsequies. It’s also the time the people take stock of their lives and plan for the future; the young men would meet their future spouses and show their respect to their ancestors through libations and they take on expansion projects as well.
Chale Wote Festival
In Accra’s streets, one of the most colorful Chale Wote Street Art Festivals in Ghana, which sees over 30,000 participants, marks exchanges between artists/educators based in Ghana and foreign cronies. The multidisciplinary community-based experience occurs in Jamestown; it is such a fresh, innovative forum to unite with interactive concepts designed for free form call-and-response expressions through performance, conversations, and extensions of culture.
The people of Agona, in the Ashanti Region, celebrate the festival with the most colorful festivities in the Eastern Region. During the festival, the Chiefs sit in state and get respect from the people. Drumming and dancing go together with the celebration.
Fetu Afahye Festival
Durbar of chiefs and processions of traditional warrior groups portray the Fetu Afahye festival. The group wears rich and colorful outfits and it creates the splendor of this festival. Their dresses represent the fusion of European cultures such as Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, and British.
The people of Agbozume celebrate the colorful festival every year. The festival observes the exile from their home and consequent settlement at Agbozume. Activities include various types of exhibitions on cloth and woven textiles.
People escaped from the cruel ruler of Notsie by walking backward. To remember the exile and the courage of their rulers who led the people, they observe the Hogbetsotso festival which is one of the most important festivals in Ghana. There are several festival-related rituals, including a peace-making moment where all unresolved issues are expected to be solved. This cleaning ritual starts at the Volta Estuary and continues for days until it lastly arrives at the Mono River in the Republic of Benin.
This is a traditional purification ritual, and also a general cleaning phase where the villages are cleaned and garbage destroyed. The prime feature is a durbar of chiefs and the people. Dancing and singing go on during the festival.
Agumatsa Waterfalls Festival
Wli people celebrate the festival and it is a thanksgiving occasion especially for the Wli waterfalls from where people get water for their domestic purposes. Along with dancing, they have a durbar that starts at mid-day and end in the evening.
The festival is all for purification and the people burn a bonfire in order to remember their ancestors. A durbar is held to keep up the spirit of unity in people. It is a phase when all descendants of the original Dormaas who broke away from the Akwamus and moved around here come home to a splendid reunion. The activities include a pageant of the royals, drumming, dancing, and a demonstration of the belongings of the chiefs.
People in the Brong Ahafo region celebrate the festival. To get rid of them of social evil, it is a festival for the purification of the people. The festival lasts a week and involves a number of cultural amusement activities. It ends with the “Apoo” procession on the sixth day when hints about some of the people’s wrongdoings are shed. This period is a time for family reunions and for people to be together.
Adae and Akwasidae Festivals
The Ashanti kingdom’s pride and splendor are brought to life most beautifully during stunning Adae festivals in Ghana that take place at the palace once every 6 weeks. There are times when the King comes out to collect the honor of his sub-chiefs and individuals, riding in a chariot and is decorated with all his gold ornaments.
1. What are the three major religious festivals in Ghana?
There are numerous festivals in Ghana and the people who celebrate them.
• Adae Kese
• Odwira Festival
• Hogbetsotso Festival
• Aboakyer Festival
2. Why do people celebrate many festivals in Ghana?
Festivals in Ghana are very significant occasions; many people travel to their ancestral homes during this period for the festivities and to continue the tradition. Festivals are held to signify the beginning and the end of the traditional year, praising great past events and purifying the traditional state.
3. Which people celebrate aboakyer festival in Ghana?
The Aboakyer festival is a bushbuck hunting festival celebrated in the Central Region of Ghana by the people of Winneba. The word Aboakyer in the Fante dialect, as spoken by the people of the Central Region, defines as “hunting for game or animal.”
4. Who celebrates dambai festival in Ghana?
The chiefs and people of the Northern, Savanna, North East, and Upper West regions of Ghana celebrate the Damba festival.
5. What is the importance of festivals in Ghana?
In different parts of the country, festivals and durbars are held throughout the year for the reunion, development purposes and to improve society’s beliefs.
Most people actually believe that they are motivated by festivals to establish close connections with their ancestors and ask for their safety. Festivals are also held In order to purify the whole state so that people can enter the New Year with faith and hope.