Odwira Festival is likely one of Ghana’s oldest and most well-known events, with historical evidence dating back to 1825, when it is thought to have been founded by Nana Addo Dankwah, the paramount chief of Akropong (1811-1835).
The celebration is now celebrated throughout the Akuapem ridge, with towns such as Larteh, Akropong, Manfe, Aburi, Adonten, and Adukrom taking part.
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.
Why is Odwira Festival Celebrated?
The Odwira Festival, like many festivals conducted in Ghana by diverse ethnic groups, has a history and a rationale for its annual celebration.
Every year in September, the celebration is held as part of the Akuapem people’s culture and customs. It was established in 1825 by Nana Addo Dankwah (1811-1835), the then paramount ruler of Akropong, after the Akuapems conquered the Ashantis in a harsh conflict that lasted years. The purpose of Odwira was to thank the land’s forefathers and gods for the triumph, as well as to commemorate and celebrate their famous victory.
The festival has now become an annual tradition and one of Ghana’s most anticipated outdoor events and festivals. While the fundamental aim of the event and the cause for its inception may have altered slightly over the ages, the Akuapems continue to hold the holiday in high regard.
Odwira is now seen as a festival commemorating the arrival of a peaceful new year. Durbars, clean-up activities, and entertainment events such as street carnivals are used to commemorate the holiday in various places.
How is Odwira Festival Celebrated in Ghana
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.
The Gyigyafo and Ntoabarima shrines (both in Adonten) celebrate the new yam crop with a special outdoor celebration known as Odehero 14 days before the festival begins. The leading priests of the shrines pour libations to the gods and ancestors during this ceremony.
Noisemaking and public ceremonies that are likely to cause any type of noise in the communities are likewise prohibited. It should also be mentioned that the various communities celebrate the festival in slightly different ways, but the major practises, such as the 40-day meditation, are practised by all.
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.