Nana Wiafe Akenten III, chief of the Offinso Council, and his people celebrate Mmoaninko Festival
Ghana has an amazing nature, a phenomenal wildlife and attractions abound. However, it is not just those typical sight-seeing attractions that make Ghana a great place to visit. It is also about learning local customs and traditions to understand what the Ghanaian lifestyle is about. It’s the reason that makes it one of the most popular travel destinations in Africa and the world.
It is always a better feeling to intermix with Ghanaians while celebrating at one of the many incredible festivals and historical events.
One thing is certain – Ghanaians know how to celebrate in style. November is also a month beautiful festivals in some parts of Ghana.
If you are a tourist in Ghana, then you can’t miss the chance to attend some of Ghana’s important festivals.
NEWS-ONE brings to you some of the best festivals in November and early December.
This is part of an initiative by the office of the Ministry of Tourism Arts & Culture to guide tourists to the best destinations in Ghana. If you are visiting Ghana any moment, you will definitely want to consider taking part in these festivals.
This is celebrated by the chiefs and people of in the Hohoe District of the Volta Region in November. Dodoleglime, which in Ewe literally means coming out of the wall, marks the escape of the people from the tyrannical rule of Togbe Agorkoli of Notsie in the 17th century.
The celebration is also in commemoration of the leading role played by the people in the secret escape through a hole they dug in the wall that was built to contain the subjects of Togbe Agorkoli. The festival which takes place November 22 include activities such as grand durbar, gala soccer matches, a dance, pageants, among other traditional activities.
The Kwafie Festival is celebrated in Dormaa Ahenkro, Berekum and Nsuatre in the Brong-Ahafo Region of Ghana.
It is a purification ceremony and its highlight is mainly large bonfire in the courtyard of the chief. It is believed that the Dormaas brought fire to Ghana and the legend is symbolically represented in a bonfire. The celebration occurs in either November or December. In Dormaa Ahenkro, the festival begins with an evening torchlight procession from the palace to the house where the sacred stools are kept. The ancestors are worshipped with libations, then the procession returns to the palace. The next morning everyone gathers at the palace where the chief presides over the ‘laying of logs’ or ‘Nkukuato’, in which lower-level officials bring in logs on their shoulders to give the chief. The highest ranking official chooses three logs to begin the fire, which is then used for cooking a ritual meal. Later in the day, an even grander procession carries the ancestral stools to a nearby body of water for ritual purification. Other sacred ceremonies are also performed. The final day of the festival is marked by joyous dancing, music and feasts on the palace grounds.
Scenes from Dodoleglime festival celebration
This festival is celebrated by the chiefs and people of Offinso in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. ‘Mmoaninko’, which is an adage for land, is a festival celebrated to commemorate the historical event that culminated in the people of Offinso acquiring their present land.
‘Mmoaninko’ was said to have come about when Nana Wiafe Akenten I asked the then Asantehene Nana Osei Tutu I to provide him with ‘Mmoaninko’ (land) after the victory of the Asantes in their second war with the Dormaas.
The people of Offinso were said to have played a remarkable role in that victory. Nana Wiafe Akenten I, the then Offinsohene (Offinso chief) , in response to an offer by Nana Osei Tutu I to choose whatever he (the Offinsohene) wanted as a reward for the great contribution of the gallant and indomitable Offinso army to the victory over the Dormaas, wisely chose ‘Mmoaninko’, which he interpreted as land.
In choosing that, he explained that he could have chosen a war title, women as wives, or gold ornarments which would have exclusively been to his advantage or to the advantage of his immediate relatives, rather he asked the then Asantehene for a permanent reward that would be a legacy for all his subjects, including those yet unborn. The Offinsohene, Nana Wiafe Akenten III, and his elders instituted the festival in November 1995 to replace the ‘Mangyina’ Festival to bring into focus the wisdom, bravery and military genius of the ancestors of the Offinsoman. To the people of Offinso, the offer of a land by the Asantehene had remained the most cherished reward and they always pride themselves with their heritage of forest lands and water bodies which have provided them with prosperous livelihood. The festival brings together all citizens of Offinsoman, both home and abroad, to formulate programmes to help accelerate the pace of development in the area.
Apoo festival is also celebrated by the people of Techiman and Wenchi in the Bong Ahafo Region. This festival aims to purify people and to rid them of social evil. The word ‘Apoo’ comes from the root word ‘po’ meaning ‘to reject’, therefore, ‘Apoo’ means the rejection of evil, abominations, calamities, curses or worries. Everybody regardless of social status, creed, or ethnicity, is allowed thirteen days of freedom to voice, often in the form of proverbs and songs, the mistakes and wrong-doings of any person, including those in high-places like the Omahene and his wing chiefs. This festival lasts for one week and it includes a variety of recreational cultural activity.
On the last day, a Monday, the god Taa-Mensa of the community is carried through the whole town to express gratitude to all the people who contributed to make the festival a success.
It is celebrated by the people of Anlo in the Volta Region of Ghana. The festival 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, which involves walking backwards, performed by women, children, the old and the young alike. The festival is a great time for the people, as this marks a great time in their history and is a time for settling disputes and getting to know one another.
History has it that before coming to their present settlement. The Anlo lived under a cruel and wicked ruler, King Agorkoli of Notsie, somewhere south of present day Sudan. The Anlo people devised a way to escape from the town. The town they were was fenced with a mud wall, so the Anlo women were told to pour water on one side of the wall anytime they had to dispose off any water. This made the spot soft, and the people were able to break the wall and escape. To avoid being caught, they ‘walked backwards’ so as to confuse their pursuers.
When they got to their present home, they created the festival Hogbetstso (Festival of Exodus) to mark this event in November.
Amu (Rice) Festival
This is celebrated by the chiefs and people of Avatime Traditional Area in the Volta Region of Ghana. As the name implies, the festival is centred on the harvest of rice, making it a harvest festival. It is celebrated at Vane, the traditional capital of the Avatime people. It is sometimes celebrated in the last week of November. It does attract a number of tourists. The people to 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. Activities for the festival in recent time include clean-up exercises, health walk, games, women empowerment conference, durbar, health screening and a thanksgiving service. Don’t miss an opportunity to be part of Amu Festival when in Ghana.