Sunday, February 27, 2011

An injection of Ghanaian culture - Ohum Festival

Detailed carvings on the staffs

GIWC members were invited to a durbar in Berekuso, a small village in the Eastern Region which is one of the 'adopted' villages of the association; a recipient of GIWC's time and effort through a number of projects. Geared out in our modest clothing - out with the Jeans and Ts and in with the african print dresses  - we made the 45 minute drive from Accra and arrived just as the procession started.

There is a profound significance to cultural practices that has more of an impact when not displayed for gratuitous viewing, i.e. as tourist attractions. Berekuso's Ohum Festival was brilliant, granted my first durbar so I was more in awe than my colleagues. It is indeed all pomp and pageantry, as are all ceremonial cultural and religious practices worldwide.  The chiefs in their full regalia; wrapped in their Kente and laden with the ceremonial gold jewelry, the intricately carved staffs, the gold inlaid chairs...It was magnificent!

The Akuapem Ohum Festival celebrates the first yam harvest of the season and is a gathering to ask for future blessings. These colourful durbars are also about the purification of the stools and re-affirmation of political loyalties and traditional allegiance. They are celebrated from September until January. Nowadays the Chief will also dedicate the festival to a particular cause; in this case it was to Basic Education. The colourful procession of the chiefs and lustrous drumming, singing and ululating gave it all a carnival feel; and all this on a Friday afternoon! We stayed long enough to see some of the dances and hear a bit of the speeches, some of which were lost on us because of the language factor and after making our presentation of the traditional offering of a  bottle of Schnapps to the Chief, we left -  unfortunately before the real celebratory part of the festival got underway.

The drummer leading the procession 

The beautiful Kente fabric

The only female Chief in the procession
Kente and ceremonial jewelry in all its splendour
The Stool 

He is supposed to actually be in front of the procession before all the chiefs - the 'bodyguard' but he came after .

The Chief of Berekuso; Nana Oteng Korankye II 

Detailed carvings 

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Fabulous photography. I live in Berekuso and regret missing the festival!!!

    Thanks for sharing!