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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
The various Ashanti
delegations, representatives of the tribes, who come from all over Ghana
(and sometimes also from other neighboring countries).
During the Akwasidae
celebrations, street vendors offer snacks, drinks and other items to be sold to the participants, carrying everything on their heads.
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.
The dances with the drum roll and the sound of the ivory trumpets.
The black umbrella as a sign of mourning for the Ashanti Queen
passed away the year before.
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.