Festival in the Ashanti Region
Adae Kese Festival
This is a very important, albeit rare celebration of the Ashantis. It is held in a large open space in the capital city of Kumasi. The festival is normally well attended and embraced by Ashantis 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 calendar 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, serve 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 (Eto) 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 Denkyiras 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.
Period Celebrated on an Akwasidae date, mostly
Place Kumawu, (Sekyere East District).
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 Ashantis emerge victorious in the battle of independence fought against the Denyiras. 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.
Place 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.
Commemorates 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
Place Ejisu (Ejisu-Juaben District)
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.
To commemorate the bravery of heroine Yaa Asantewaa I, for resisting attempts by the British forces to capture the Ashanti Golden Stool by leading the famous uprising in the late 1690s.
Mmoa Nnni Nko Festival
Place Offinso, (Offinso District)
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.
Perido Last Monday in November/1st Monday in
Place 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.
Marks the emergence of the first seven Asante ancestors from a huge hole in the ground, marking the origin of the Ashantis.