Ghana has many exciting traditional festivals; these are occasions of great cultural pomp and pageantry on the indigenous calendars of the many ethnic groups. Festivals are very important occasions in Ghana; during this time many people travel to their ancestral home for the celebrations and to mark the occasion.
Festivals are celebrated to mark both the beginning and the end of the traditional year and to celebrate great events of the past and purify the traditional state. These occasions and celebrations can be the marking of a successful harvest, the initiation of adolescent girls into womanhood and the showcasing of new Kente and other traditional textile designs.
Each region, tribe or ethnic group celebrates their festivals in different ways and these are based upon their customs, cultures and traditions. As such, even though they may at first glance look similar by the outward celebration, they are indeed very different.
Festivals are also a time of great family reunions and feasting, revered ancestors and gods are invoked to participate. For the chiefs, festivals are the time for public renewal of allegiances to the paramount stool and the state, while plans for development projects in the community are also discussed.
Most of the activities span a week and during this time, sacred and antiquated state regalia as well as important works of art are put on public display.
The grand durbar of chiefs is the climax of most festive celebrations and is usually preceded by a royal procession through the principal streets, as the chiefs are carried in palanquins and sheltered by large ceremonial umbrellas.
Some festival activities are of deep religious content and are held in private with fasting by chiefs and royal functionaries. Following this is the public celebrations often mistaken for the ceremony itself.
Festivals are one of the few occasions where you can experience true indigenous Ghanaian culture and tradition at its very best.