Everything you need to know about festivals in Ghana. The country has great history and culture to celebrate every year. There are so many of them that people don’t know because it’s celebrated in small communities and villages. There are others that are popular with the people of Ghana. Here are some of the top festivals to experience when you visit.
Typically, there are about 70 major traditional festivals in Ghana. Normally these festivals are celebrated to thank the gods for a great harvest season (that is the most common type of festival in Ghana), sacrifice to the gods for safe migration, and many other reasons. Most of these festivals are celebrated by the leader of a particular city or land or maybe first-generation survives and the people.
During every year, chiefs or leaders call on their people to come around or come home to help celebrate their traditional festival. As I said earlier, some of these festivals are celebrated by a small number of people and they are not popular. Others are very popular with the public because they are celebrated in big cities and towns by great chiefs and leaders.
Traditional festivals in Ghana erupt with remarkable cultural and historical propensity. Street art, food, and music festivals come with creative dynamism.
It will be a great idea to experience any festival here in Ghana and if you have any plans, here are MrPocu.com‘s top festivals in Ghana you should experience.
Top Festivals In Ghana
Adae Kese Festival
Since the Ashanti kingdom is the biggest kingdom in Ghana, I will say the Adae Kese is the biggest and most popular among other traditional festivals in Ghana. The Adae Kese is celebrated by the Ashanti people and their chiefs. The festival is an important albeit rare celebration among the Ashantis.
During the festival, the Manhyia Palace is open to all and it honours the achievement of the kingdom. The festival was first celebrated to the achievement of statehood of the people, after the war that the Ashantis had their independence. In the Battle of Feyiase they fought against the people of Denkyira. It is also the occasion when the purification ceremony of Odwira is performed at the burial shrines of ancestral spirits. Generally, this coincides with the harvest season of Yam and hence the ritual was also called the “Yam custom” by Europeans.
The festival occurs every six weeks. Adae Kese ushers the Ashanti’s in the New Year, with dates ranging between July and October. Even though Ashanti’s also enjoys and celebrate New Year every January.
The Homowo is a fest that makes a whole city (capital of Ghana, Accra) go silent and it is the top harvest festival in Ghana right now. It’s celebrated by the Ga people of Ghana. This is one of the best festivals you would love to experience in Ghana every August.
The celebration of Homowo started with a period of hunger leading to famine due to the failure of the seasonal rains needed by crops in the Greater Accra Region, where the Ga people dwell. When the rains returned to normal, the Ga people celebrated it by creating the Homowo festival, hence its name and meaning. And since then, the rain has never failed them like it did years back.
Tourists travel to see the Chiefs of Ga community spread kpokpoi (Ga local food made for the gods) to the gods during the festival. Each year thousands of tourists visit Ghana to experience the Homowo festival. So Homowo is not a festival you would love to miss.
Going to the Odwira festival is one of the best things I do every year since 2017. You may love to self-drive or go with others. Better still get a tour guide, it can get very crowded or choked. And if you are self-driving to the Odwira festival, you need to go early so you don’t pack your car far from the event.
It is celebrated by the people of the Eastern Region of Ghana. The festival is celebrated annually every September. It commemorates a historic victory over people from the Ashanti tribe in 1626. And it is one of the festivals that the youth really enjoy.
This should be on my to-do list when visiting Takoradi or Western Region. Kundum is worth experiencing traditional festivals in the Western Region of Ghana. It is celebrated by the people of Ahanta or Nzema and is also one of the harvest festivals in Ghana.
Trust me, it was a nice experience to witness a festival like Kundum and I decided to do a little research by asking some of the elderly locals. Guess what, one of the earliest written records of the festival was made by Bosman, a Dutch explorer who travelled to the Gold Coast in the 17th century and observed the festival.
The festival has more dancing sections and is because of its origin. According to oral history, the Kundum Festival began when a hunter (Akpoley) return home with a dance he learn from a group of dwarves in a circle.
This is a history you would love to learn and also experience. Plan a trip to Ghana within the month of August and November and explore. While people wear all sorts of masks to Carnival these days, there are a handful of traditional-style masks that you would love to wear during the Kundum Festival.
Eastern Region is no stranger to big festivals, that is for sure. And Ohum is one of the top harvest festivals in the Country. Ohum Festival is a traditional festival celebrated by Akuapems and Akyems tribes in the Eastern.
It has always been hard to predict when the Ohum is celebrated. Most times it is either September or October and on Tuesday or Wednesday depending on the month Ohumkan festival was celebrated.
Whiles people are waiting to celebrate Ohum, a two-week ban on noise-making is imposed. During that period there are no activities related to noise. Unless you have permission from authority or anything related to the festival. Since it’s a harvest festival it is mainly celebrated to give thanks to God for plenty of yam harvests and ask for his favours in the coming season.
You can enjoy Odwira festival and Ohun festival together if both happen to be celebrated in the month of September
Book that one-way ticket today and visit Ghana in the month of August and September and experience some great festivals and also explore some of the amazing places in Ghana. And if you are in Ghana, exploring Cape Coast in the month of September will be a full travel experience in one package.
The Fetu festival celebration is held each year after the rainy season, usually in the month of September, the first Saturday of the month. The Fetu Afahye is one important celebration for the Oguaa people of Cape Coast.
It is celebrated to thank the gods for getting rid of a deadly disease outbreak that killed many of their people back in the days. Because of the Fetu festival, the people of Oguaa keep every corner of the city clean to prevent another outbreak and this is something they do every year.
Kpini Chuugu, which means Guineafowl Festival in Dagbani, is a minor festival celebrated on the fourth month after Damba in the Northern region of Ghana. It is observed in the Dagbon, Mamprugu, and Nanung traditional areas. Naa Zangina is known to have been the initiator of this festival.
Arguably, Northerners have a unique culture and amazing energy with their tradition. Kpini Chuugu might not be popular with the people but it is one of the festivals to experience in Ghana if you looking forward to some epic African tradition.
Finally, this is one historical festival that will let you visit the Dagomba tribe and experience the amazing origin story of the Bugum Chungu festival. You would love to know more about the festival celebrated to remember the chief who lost his son. Thinking a tree killed his son because he was found dead under the tree (that was Spoilers Alert).
This means the fire festival, is the first Dagomba festival of the year. It is celebrated in the first month of the Dagomba lunar year, the Bugum Goli (the month of fire), and is celebrated on the ninth day of the month. The festival is celebrated to remember the “lost of a chief’s son” during the old days.
Commemorating Farming seasons
The Kakube festival is the most popular harvest or farming festival in the Upper West Region by the people of Nandom. Most harvest or farming festivals in Ghana are celebrated to thank small gods for protecting and giving them a good farming season and Kakuba festival is not exceptional.
It’s also a time when the people of Nandom’s traditional area rekindle relationships and exhibit their rich traditions and culture. During this period they dance and share food with their neighbours.
The northern part of Ghana has some epic traditional styles. Experience a festival up there can be one of the best things to do in Ghana. The Kobine is a three-day fest that features eating, drinking, and dancing every September and it is celebrated by the chiefs and peoples of Lawra in the Upper West Region of Ghana.
Commemorating Migration seasons
Many tribes or generations migrate from places to their recent settlement and the people of the New Juaben is one of the tribes that celebrate such a dignified departure from the Ashanti’s to the Eastern Region. It is celebrated to mark the epic journey of the people from Juaben in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.
It all happened 135 years ago when the Juabens and their allies from their ancestral homes in Asante establish the New Juaben settlement in the Eastern Region specifically in Koforidua.
The Hogbetsosto festival is very popular with the people and the most popular festival in the Volta Region of Ghana. Back in School, the most interesting historical ethnic story was the migration of the Anlo people in the Ewe tribe.
The story of a tribe that escaped a wicked king’s rule by walking backward with their faces towards the town so their footprint appeared to be going into the same town which they were escaping. Today they celebrate their successful migration from Notsie to Ghana.
The region also hosts some of the top attractions in Ghana. So if you are experiencing the Hogbetsotso festival, you can also explore the beautiful region.
Obviously, Easter is not a new festival in the world. Billions of Christain celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus every year.
Have you tried celebrating Easter in a different country or town? If not then you need to give it a try and Ghana is not of the best places in Africa to celebrate this Christian festive season.
Kwahu in the Eastern region is the best Easter destination in Ghana. The paragliding festival in Kwahu attracts both Ghanaians and foreigners alike for 4 days of spectacular aerial fun, ceremony, and music every Easter.
Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on the Twelfth Night.
Christmas Day is a public holiday in many countries including Ghana. The season is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by many non-Christians, and forms an integral part of the holiday season organized around it.
Celebrate Christmas in Ghana and have one of the best travel experiences ever. Accra the capital is the best destination in Ghana for X-mas.
Eid al-Adha is the latter of the two official holidays which are celebrated within Islam (the other being Eid al-Fitr). It honours the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ismael as an act of obedience to God’s command.
Before Ibrahim could sacrifice his son, however, God provided him with a lamb which he was supposed to sacrifice in his son’s place. In commemoration of this intervention, animals are ritually sacrificed.
Experiencing Eid al-Adha in Ghana is so beautiful and the love our Islam neighbours shows is so amazing. Book a ticket and enjoy one of the best festivals in Ghana with our Islam brothers and sisters.
Eid al-Fitr is the earlier of the two official holidays celebrated within Islam (the other being Eid al-Adha). The religious holiday is celebrated by Muslims worldwide because it marks the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan
It falls on the first day of Shawwal in the Islamic calendar; this does not always fall on the same Gregorian day, as the start of any lunar Hijri month varies based on when the new moon is sighted by local religious authorities.
The holiday is known under various other names in different languages and countries around the world. The day is also called Lesser Eid, or simply Eid.
If you want to get a glimpse of what a traditional festival in Ghana is like, Aboakyer is one of the best festivals to experience.
The festival is a bushbuck hunting festival celebrated by the people of Winneba in the Central Region. The institution of the festival was to commemorate the migration of Simpafo (a traditional name given to the people of Winneba). The people migrated from the northeastern African town of Timbuktu in the ancient Western Sudan Empire to their present land on the central coast of Ghana. The journey from the northeast to the western part of Africa was led by two brothers.
The festival is considered a failed one if the people don’t get a bushbuck. I always question myself when I was a kid, what if they don’t get a bushbuck? But they always get a bushbuck before the festival start.
There is more to learn as a local and as a tourist and Bakatue festival is one of the best festivals to learn more about our colonial times. It’s celebrated by the chiefs and peoples of Elmina in the Central Region and every Tuesday in the month of July.
The Dutch reported the existence of the festival at least as far back as 1847 and was mentioned in a report by Governor Cornelis Nagtglas in 1860.
The festival is used to mark the beginning of the fishing season in Elmina. The name Bakatue is from the Fante dialect and translates as “draining of a lagoon”. The celebration of the festival was instituted to commemorate the founding of Elmina by the Portuguese in the early days of the colonization of the then Gold Coast.
Art & Entertainment Festivals
Chale Wote Festival
This festival is what most tourists wait to visit every year during the month of August. Chale Wote is an alternative platform that brings art, music, dance, and performance out into the streets. The festival targets exchanges between scores of local and international artists and patrons by creating and appreciating art together.
Since 2011, thousands of tourists have visited Ghana to experience this beautiful art exhibition on the street of Jamestown, Accra. CHALE WOTE organizers have included so many exhibitions to the festival like street painting, graffiti murals, photography, theater, spoken word, interactive art installations, live street performances, extreme sports, film shows, a fashion parade, a music block party, recyclable design workshops and much more.
Afrochella Music & Art Festival
The festival is designed to elevate and highlight the thrilling and thriving millennial talent in Africa by introducing an interactive event that teaches, explains, and explores various cultures through a pioneering approach.
Afrochellans ( people who attend the festival) will experience art and creative activations from the continent, celebrate African music, and taste premium and cultured cuisine.
It is one of the best December festivals in Ghana and it is more like a homecoming party for Ghanain staying outside the country.