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Homowo Festival: Homowo Festival in Ghana

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Children at the festival

Children at the festival

Children at the festival

A worshiper

A worshiper

A worshiper

Homowo Festival

Homowo is a traditional festival celebrated by the Ga people. The traditional festival is basically a triumphant declaration against hunger and joy of abundance.

The Ga people are found in the beautiful West African country of Ghana. Ghana formally known as Gold Coast has long pictorial beach sides, thriving tourism and warm friendly people.

The republic of Ghana an English colony is bordered by French speaking neighbors and the Atlantic Ocean. The neighbors are Togo, Cote-devour and Burkina Faso.

The West African country is known for its abundant reserve of gold and cocoa trees. Ghana is one of the first independent republics in African championed by the first Prime Minister Dr Kwame Nkrumah.

Christians

CHRISTIANS

CHRISTIANS

Ghana Religions

Ghanaians are very religious people and operate freedom of religion and customs. The predominant religion is Christianity which occupies 75% of the population.

The Christian faiths are generally Anglican, Methodist, Pentecostal, Charismatic, Protestant and Catholic. There is a number of Muslims Based on the large Northern Ghanaians who speak Hausa language similar to those found in Nigeria.

17% follow the Islamic Faith and are Muslims while traditional religions occupy 6% and 11% other religions. It is not uncommon to find people of different faith following traditional practices, cultural and event.

Ghana Ethnic tribes

Ghana has 9 major ethnic tribes

Ghana has 9 major ethnic tribes

Homowo

Major Tribes and Ethnic Groups in Ghana

Ghana has a rich cultural diversity based on several tribes and ethnic groups. There are 9 major ethic groups in Ghana such as the Ashanti tribe, Mole-Dagbon people, Fante Tribe, Ewe and Ga.

Ga-Adangbe people occupy the Volta region, Eastern region, Togo, and Greater Accra. They are found predominantly in towns such as Osu, Tema, Nungua, Teshie and Accra.

Traditionally Ga people are mostly farmers and fishermen however modernization has diversified the occupations. One of their significant cultural celebrations is the Homowo festival.

Homowo literarily means ‘Hooting at Hunger’. The century long food festival still persists in modern Ga traditional festivities.

In Ga mythology the people passed through a difficult period occasioned by famine. The festival recounts migratory movement, settlement and inspired mass farming.

The farming was successful leading to increased production and bumper harvest. The Homowo festival is celebrated twice within a 4 day period in the same town.

This strange occurrence is traced back to the Ga Mantse performing the rite twice according to history. Before the commencement of the celebrations the Dantu Fetish Priest is accorded the privilege to announce the commencement of the native calendar.

Celebrants

Celebrants

Celebrants

The Native Calendar

The native calendar is moved forward or backwards at the discretion of the Ga Mantse or Dantu Priest. No reason is established for the continual change however the celebrations fall between august and September. The day following the feast usually falls on Saturday while the native year starts on Sunday.

Man at Festival

Man at Festival

Man at Festival

Monday: First Day of Ga Year

The first day of Ga year falls on first Monday after Saturday feast. The Dantu Priest performs different rites while the people sprinkle water on themselves.

homowo-festival-homowo-festival-in-ghana

Tuesday: Second Day

This day is regarded as a work free day for Ga people. They use the day to prepare for the celebration.

There is no significant activity on the 3rd and 4th Day Thursday. The 5th day follows the same pattern, no fishing or farming by native Ga people. Same applies for the 6th through to 10th day of the native calendar.

Thursday, 11th Day of Native Calendar

There is mass influx of people from towns and villages outside the festive area. At night guns a fired to drive off or acknowledge ghosts and spirits in the community.

The Homowo Festival

TownsEthnic GroupsFood at Festival

Teshie

Ewe

Kpokpoi

Nungua

Fante

Palmnut Soup

Tema

Ga

Yam porridge

Osu

Ashanti

Pounded Yam

Festival celebrants

Festival celebrants

Festival celebrants

Friday, 12th Day

The 12th day Friday is one of the most significant days in the Homowo festival. Daughters-in –laws and sons-in –laws present firewood to their father and mother in laws.

The gift of firewood is a symbolization of gifts presented in ancient times. A pilgrimage is then taken to Mkpono hill the burial site of Ga Mantse Tackie Tawia.

Palm leaves are positioned at three points on a road path to Korle Lagoon to prevent fishing or passage. The embargo is later lifted by the priests with rituals and presentation of fish to high rank people in the society.

A symbolic net casting is done by the priest while rum is pored to remove the palm restrictions on the three point of the road. This signifies the end of fishing restrictions and end to the eight week no-fishing embargo.

The fishermen work another six weeks and close shop for the celebrations. Guinea corn is planted and yam customs are performed.

During the festival the community are draped in finery such as gold, beads and native fabric. The dace along the street to native sounds, songs and music.

Saturday 13th day on the Calendar

The Homowo great feast is done on this day. Different traditional delicacy such as palm nut soup, fried gari-Kpokpoi and yam are eaten on that day.

The last day Sunday 14th is a day of good will, greetings and visits to friends, family and neighbors. Disputes and disagreements between neighbors are settled amicably.

Homowo officially ends on Friday however you still find a few revelers enjoying on Saturday.

Sempe Homowo Festival

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Twins

homowo twins

homowo twins

Twins of Ga Mashi

The Homowo celebration takes place once a month. The festival is celebrated by the Ga people of greater Accra region of Ghana.

The reason for the festival is to celebrate a period in history when there was serious famine. This was followed by a period of bumper harvest. They use the traditional festival to hoot at hunger.

An interesting aspect of the ceremony is the twins of Ga Mashie. The twin’s festival is known as Akwele Suma or Yeyeeye. Twins from Ga Mashie are paraded in white cloths around the town.

The Ga Mashie celebrations is because of the importance of children. The community see children as blessing from God and twins double blessing. The twins are paraded on the streets to perform their spiritual role and go through the ritual.

The festival accommodates both young and old twins who are pampered to appease their spirits. They undergo traditional cleansing from any misfortune and feed specially prepared food.

The meal is usually specially made mashed yam. The bowl containing the leftovers from the spiritual bath are carried in procession and dumped along the Korle Naabu.

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