FESTIVALS IN ASANTE REGION
ADAE KESE FESTIVAL
This is a very important, albeit rare celebration of the Ashanti’s. It is held in a large open space in the capital city of Kumasi. The festival is normally well attended and embraced by Ashanti’s from all walks of life.Basically, the Adae Kese celebrations are magnified forms of Sunday Adae festivals, celebrated every six weeks in accordance with the Akan ca lender which is based on a cycle of forty- two days and nine months in a year. Invariably, the last Akwasidae festival is set aside for the celebration of Adae Kese. Adae Kese is usually held to climax celebrations of specific milestones and achievements of the Asante kingdom. it was first celebrated to mark the attainment of statehood of a newly celebrated people, in the aftermath of the Ashanti war of independence, otherwise known as the “”Battle of Feyiase””, which was fought against the Denkyiras between 1697 and 1699. Adae Kese, like other Akwasidae events, serves as the platform for pledging allegiance to the kingdom and to affirm loyalty to the occupant of the Golden Stool which represents the unity and embodiment of all Ashanti.The event is marked in two phases. There are solemn private observances which are performed at the King’s palace chambers by accredited members of the royal family and other functionaries. It includes rituals, aimed at cleansing the spirit of the incumbent King and the presentation of ceremonial sacrificial meal (Esq.) and drinks to ancestral spirits. Their blessing and protection guide the kingdom to prosperity.The public celebrations take the form of a colourful durbar of chiefs and queen mothers presided over by the Asantehene. It involves the display of cherished regalia and paraphernalia accompanied by traditional drumming and dancing as well as firing of musketry amidst pomp and pageantry.The Adae festival is a continuous demonstration of faith in the vision and heritage of the Asante Kingdom, which has existed since the introduction of the Golden Stool in 1700.The festival is also to commemorate and re-enforce the independence of the Ashanti people and an occasion to re-affirm each state’s loyalty to the confederacy instituted in the aftermath of the Ashanti war of independence fought against the Denkyeras between 1697-1699. It provides a platform for the King to meet and share his thoughts with his sub-chiefs and subjects and also reward deserving ones.Time your visit to coincide with an Akwasidae Festival, (Sunday Adae). You can determine the Akwasidae dates by counting 6 weeks down the calendar from 1 Adae. For example, in 1991 the dates were: January 6, February 17, March 31 May 12, June 23, August 4, September 15, October 27, December 8
Celebrated on an Akwasidae date, mostly in March in Kumawu, (Sekyere East District), an activity begins with sacrificial rituals on the eve of the actual day. The day starts with a mini durbar of chiefs presided over by the Paramount Chief of Kumawu. Then comes a procession of the chiefs and traditional militia warrior group to ‘PAPASO’. This is where the sacrificial cow is slaughtered. Anyone can have a piece of this cow if one can withstand the beatings and heckling that characterises attempts to secure a portion of the meat. This display of valour and endurance is part of the festival.The Festival reminds the chiefs and people of the Kumawu area of the bravery of their ancestors, especially, Nana Tweneboah Kodua I, who offered himself as ransom in order that the Ashanti’s emerge victorious in the battle of independence fought against the Denkyiras. The festival also seeks to purify the state by driving off evil spirits, which may hinder the search for elephant tusks, which are important paraphernalia of the royalty.
Celebrated in July/ August in Bonwire, (Ejisu-Juaben District). A colourful assembly of local chiefs and people of Bonwire, where participants adorn themselves with beautifully woven Kente clothes and designs which they have created.The significance of the Kente festival is to commemorate the origin of the Kente cloth, Bonwire, over 300 years ago. The festival also seeks to assert the influence of the Kente as an exclusive cloth from this part of the world.
YAA ASANTEWAA FESTIVAL
Yaa Asantewaa Festival
It is celebrated in August by the Ejisu, (Ejisu-Juaben District). A durbar of chiefs presided over by the paramount chief of Ejisu Traditional area.People from all walks of life call to pay homage to the memory of Nana Yaa Asantewaa the brave Ashanti war heroine and those exiled to the Seychelles with her.In 1900, at the advanced age of 60-plus and defying the mores of a woman’s role in her society, Yaa Asantewaa, the queenmother of Edweso (or Ejisu, English spelling) stepped out of the shadows to lead an army of 20,000 men to resist British imperialism in what is now known as the Yaa Asantewaa War.The Asante nation, to which Yaa Asantewaa belonged, fiercely resisted British attempts to colonise their territory. At the height of its glory, the Asante Empire (which came after the collapse of the earlier empires of Bono and Denkyira), encompassed over 70% of present day Ghana, and could boast one of the most advanced systems of government on the continent.The central location of the capital, Kumasi, also gave it strategic control of lucrative trade routes, enabling it to grow rich and powerful on the slave trade, as well as in gold mining.However, by 1896, the seemingly invincible empire had been greatly weakened after several wars with the British, who were intent on bringing the kingdom to heel. The Asantehene (king of the Asante), Prempeh I, and several of his powerful sub-chiefs and key generals had been captured by the British forces and sent into exile (first in Sierra Leone and then to the Seychelles).
MMO NNI NKO FESTIVAL
Mmoa Nni Nko Festival
A colourful durbar of chiefs accompanied by traditional drumming and dancing amid merry making and funfair and firing of musketry. To celebrate the bravery and wisdom of Nana Wiafe Akenten I, who chose a large piece of land instead of jewelry, when the king was rewarding the various divisions after war against the Dormaas of the Brong Ahafo region, which the Ashantis won. It is celebrated in October by the Offinso, (Offinso District).
Celebrated in the last Monday in November/1st Monday in December by the Essumeja, (Bekwai District). The performance of rituals and durbar of traditional leaders at a site. In the Asantemanso forest, known to be the ancestral origin of the Asantes.The significance of this festival is to mark the emergence of the first seven Asante ancestors from a huge hole in the ground, marking the origin of the Asante’s.