Culture

Century old traditions of the people of Ghana, coupled with the diversity distinct ethnic groups, have created a rich culture that is the splendid legacy of modern Ghana. To the people of Ghana, the traditions of their ancestors are still an important part of daily life. Traditional leaders have historical authority over tribal and family matters, and customary lands are an important heritage.

Important events in life are marked by special ceremonies and rituals. Child naming, puberty initiations, marriage and death are marked by family ceremonies, while seasonal festivals bring a whole people or clan together in spectacular fashion.

Many festivals include thrilling durbars of chief, when tribal leaders and Queen Mothers process in decorated palanquins, shaded by traditional umbrellas, and supported by drummers and warriors discharging ancient muskets.

ETIQUETTE IN A GHANAIAN VILLAGE

Ghanaians are a conservative people; tourists are encouraged to be descent in their dressing. Take off shoes when entering a sacred ground and do not take photographs without permission. Do not enter any house unless invited in. Greet people by shaking the right hand, and do not offer any gift using the left hand. A welcome drink should always be accepted, and at least a sip should be taken. If a gift is required for a local chief, a bottle of local schnapps is appropriate.

LANGUAGES AND LITERATURE

English is Ghana's official language. Ghanaian authors therefore, continue to write in this medium with some success, evidenced by the acceptance of Ghanaian manuscripts for publication overseas. There is a strong Ghanaian Association of Writers (GAW) promoting creative writing and whose active participation in the Pan African Writers Associations (PAWA) perhaps, contributed to making Ghana the seat of PAWA. The latter has embarked on a program of cultural promotion, and its regular lectures and workshops are becoming an important feature of the Ghanaian cultural scene.

TOURISM AND FESTIVALS

A cultural tourism program called The Slave Route has been initiated by African countries and UNESCO to rehabilitate, restore and promote the heritage handed down by the slave trade. Countries all over Africa are conserving buildings, sites and memories of this iniquitous period in order that today's tourist can appreciate the dark impact of this era.

Ghanaian festivals reveal some common features and beliefs. The first and foremost is the belief in life after death and in the nearness of dead ancestors to their living descendants. Some of the major festivals are the Odwira, celebrated by the Akan people of Akwapim, Akwamu, Denkyira and Akyem; the Yam Festival, celebrated by the Akan people of Aburi-Akwapim and several Ewe groups of the Volta Region; the Aboakyir festival of the Effutus of Winneba; the Akwambo festival, celebrated by the Fantes of Agona and Gomoa; the Hobgetsotso festival of the Ewe people of Anlo; the Homowo festival, celebrated by the Gas of Greater Accra; the Damba festival of the Northern and Upper Regions of Ghana; the Bakatue festival, celebrated by the people of Elmina; the Nmayem festival of the people of Odumasi-Krobo; the Asafotufiam festival f the people of Ada and the Adae and Akwasidae festivals of the people of Asante.

LIST OF MAJOR FESTIVALS

Please check locally for exact dates

FESTIVAL

Adae & Akwasidae
Edina Buronya
Ngmayen
Gogolo
Dipo
Aboakyer
Bakatue
Asaafotufiam
Odambea
Damba
Kumdum
Homowo
Fetu Afahye
Kobine
Odwira
Hogbetsotso

MONTH

Every six weeks During the year
New Year
March/April
March
May
May
July
July/August
August
August
August/November
Aug/September
September
September
Sept/October
November

TOWN & REGION

Kumasi, Ashanti
Elmina, Central
Odumase, Eastern
Upper East
Krobo Odumase, Eastern
Winneba, Central
Elmina, Central
Ada
Saltpond, Central
Upper West
Western
Accra
Cape Coast, Central
Upper West
Akropong, Aburi, Eastern
Anloga, Volta

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