The Akwasidae celebrations in Kumasi and the Ashanti ethnic group of Ghana

3rd December 2017 

The Akwasidae festival is an excellent opportunity to get in touch with the people of the Ashanti region, in the heart of Ghana, learning more about their traditions. In December 2017, the Akwasidae celebration held in Kumasi was dedicated to the last commemoration of the Queen died a year earlier.

Royal family in Kumasi
The first step if a visitor would like to attend an Akwasidae festival, is to ask the permission to the King in Kumasi, who agrees to meet the group of tourists at the royal palace.
Kumasi royal family Ashanti king
Ashanti jewelery Ashanti queen
Kumasi Royal Palace Royal family guard
The royal family with the king, queen and guards in their traditional clothes. The king and queen usually wear sumptuous jewelery made with gold, of which the region is rich, each with precise meanings related to their culture and traditions.
Gift as gesture of hospitality
The royal family welcomes tourists by offering a bottle of liquor as a gesture of hospitality and grants permission to attend the Akwasidae festival scheduled for the following day.
Ashanti tribe delegation Ashanti traditional clothes
Ashanti umbrella Ashanti delegation

Why the Akwasidae? The Akwasidae ceremony is usually held at the beginning of each Ashanti month (which lasts about 40 days) to pay tribute to ancestors and to the king, and takes place at the royal palace of Kumasi with the participation of thousands of people. The celebration begins with the arrival of the various delegations, accompanied by colored umbrellas, representing the tribes in the Ashanti region.
Traditional Akwasidae clothes Dressed in mouring
Mouring umbrella Akwasidae clothes
The Akwasidae celebration is an excellent opportunity to get in touch with the local people who, on the occasion of this event, show the typical traditional clothes that include colorful robes and hats. The Akwasidae celebrations of December 3rd, 2017 represented here, coincided with the last commemoration of the Ashanti Queen who disappeared the previous year and required all the participants to dress in mourning, therefore with a great prevalence of black.
The opening of a large umbrella that will shelter the delegation of a tribe from the sun.
Ashanti tribe representatives Ashanti tribe
The various Ashanti delegations, representatives of the tribes, who come from all over Ghana (and sometimes also from other neighboring countries).
Carrying eggs on the head Carrying snaks on the head
Street vendor in Africa Street vendor in Ghana
During the Akwasidae celebrations, street vendors offer snacks, drinks and other items to be sold to the participants, carrying everything on their heads.
Showing a picture on a digital camera
Ashanti children
Ashanti child
Although this edition of the Akwasidae festival is dedicated to the commemoration of the deceased Queen and requires to be dressed in mourning, as any other traditional Ashanti funeral this does not have to be necessarily a moment of tears or sadness, but an occasion to help the deceased to reach the ancestors, something that is achieved also by dancing and partying.
Ashanti drum Ashanti drums
Ivory trumpet Traditional Ashanti dances
The dances with the drum roll and the sound of the ivory trumpets.
Black umbrella
The black umbrella as a sign of mourning for the Ashanti Queen passed away the year before.
Akwasidae feast Akwasidae festival
Akwasidae celebrations Ashanti festivals
Ashanti feast Ashanti festival
Akwasidae Akwasidae celebration
Festival of Akwasidae Celebrations of Akwasidae
Celebration of Akwasidae
Ashanti traditional hat

Around the Ashanti King the participants to Akwasidae festival and the delegations of the various tribes, which can be identified according to the patterns on the clothes, on the hat and on the cane.
Kumasi Akwasidae festival
Some professional operators use a drone to take the scene from above.
Because of the importance of this edition of the Akwasidae festival, combined with the celebrations of the last funeral of the Ashanti Queen, a local TV broadcasts the event shortly thereafter.

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