Odwira Festival is one of Ghana’s oldest and most well-known celebrations, with historical evidence indicating that it was started in 1825 by Nana Addo Dankwah, the paramount chief of Akropong (1811-1835).
The festival is currently held in towns throughout the Akuapem ridge, including Larteh, Akropong, Manfe, Aburi, Adonten, and Adukrom.
How is Odwira festival celebrated?
The chiefs, elders, and local priests of the several Akuapem towns, including Larteh, Akropong, Manfe, Aburi, Adonten, and Adukrom, perform several religious rituals and customary rights as part of the Odwira festival.
Before the festival begins, all of the participating traditional areas’ chiefs, elders, and councilmen participate in a 40-day meditation period. The rulers of traditional areas seek wisdom and advice from their ancestors during this era, according to legend. The meditation period is also utilised to resolve conflicts between town residents so that their grudges do not carry over into the festival season.
14 days before the festival, the Gyigyafo and Ntoabarima shrines (both in Adonten) hold a special outdoor ceremony called as Odehero to commemorate the fresh yam crop. During this event, the shrine’s top priests pour libations to the gods and ancestors.
Noise-making and public celebrations that are likely to cause any kind of disturbance in the community are also prohibited. It’s also worth noting that while different communities celebrate the festival in slightly different ways, the major practices, such as 40-day meditation, are followed by all.
Why is Odwira Festival Celebrated?
The Odwira Festival, like many other festivals held in Ghana by various ethnic groups, has a history and a reason for being held every year.
The ceremony is held every year in September as part of the Akuapem people’s culture and customs. It was founded in 1825 by Nana Addo Dankwah (1811-1835), the supreme monarch of Akropong at the time, when the Akuapems defeated the Ashantis in a long-running struggle. Odwira’s objective was to thank the land’s forebears and gods for their victory, as well as to memorialize and celebrate their legendary victory.
The festival is now an annual tradition, as well as one of Ghana’s most anticipated outdoor events and festivals. The Akuapems continue to hold the holiday in high regard, despite the fact that the event’s primary goal and the reason for its birth have changed slightly over time.
Odwira is now celebrated as a festival marking the start of a new year with peace. In various locations, durbars, clean-up activities, and entertainment events such as street carnivals are held to honor the holiday.
Who Introduced The Odwira Festival?
The Festival was founded by Nana Addo Dankwa 1, the 19th Okuapimhene of Akropong, who reigned from 1811 to 1835. It was first commemorated in October 1826, and its significance is tied to the people of Okuapemman’s triumph over the then-powerful Ashanti army in the famous battle of Katamansu near Dodowa.
What Does Odwira Means In Akan?
The Akan term “Odwira” means “purification.” It is consequently assumed that the same “Odwira” was adopted, owing to the fact that the Okuapehene and other occupants of stools in the area “purify” their tools during this festival.
Ghana Travel Restrictions
Ghana is open to most travelers again. I mean travelers from all over the world. However, you do need proof of your COVID-19 vaccination(s) or a negative test result before being allowed entry.
Many hotels, attractions, and private tours are open with new health & safety protocols in place, and you still have to follow certain guidelines. They are all good for our safety.
Read the ultimate travel guide to Ghana to help you plan your trip.