Festivals in the Northern Region

Jintigi Fire Festival

The chiefs and people of Gonjaland celebrate it in April every year. The capital of the Gonja Traditional Area, Damango, serves as the epicentre of the entire celebration.

Among activities to mark the festival is the procession at night with torches into the bush or outskirts of towns and villages within Gonjaland.  There are also Koran recitals to forecast the New Year.

Special Jintigi Festival 

It is celebrated a day ahead of the main Jintigi (Fire) Festival.  This festival is held mainly by the ethnic Kamaras, whose main town is Larabanga. 

The main activity is the annual consultation of a Koran by the Chief Imam to predict what will happen in the ensuring year. 

The said Koran is reputed to have been sent there by an angel.  The ethnic Kamaras are the descendants of powerful Imams.

Damba Festival

 The Damba festival is categorized into three main festivals, namely:

  • Somo Damba
  • Naa Damba
  • Belkusi Damba

The people of Dagbon, Mamprugu, Gonja, Mamprugui, and Nanumba celebrate it under the lunar calendar. The significance of the festival is to commemorate the birthday of the Holy Prophet of Islam. Activities include prayers and fasting and procession of people on horseback, amidst drumming and dancing. 

Bugum Chugu (Fire) Festival

The Bugum Chugu is celebrated throughtout the Northern Region by the Dagombas, the Nanumbas and the Mamprusis.  It is held under the lunar calendar.  The main activity is the procession of celebrants with torches at night amidst music and dancing. The significance of Bugum is to commemorate the search for the lost son of an ancient King.

Sonyor Deng Festival 

It is a thanksgiving festival to pay homage to the Sonyor _ Kupo_ fetish shrine at Sonyor in the Bole District of the Northern Region.  The festival is held among the Gonja worshippers of the Sonyor “Kupo” shrine.  It is held under the lunar calendar.

The main activity is the presentation of live bush animals to the shrine.

Kpini Chugu (Guinea Fowl) Festival

 The Kpini Chugu festival is observed in the Dagbon, Mamprugu, and Nanung Traditional Areas as a minor festival.  These areas are made up of Dagombas, Mamprusis, Nanumbas, Kokombas and Basaris.  There is no general celebration.  It is observed as a harvest offering to the gods. 

Konyurichugu (El-Il-Fitr) Festival                                                   

All Muslems observe this festival throughout the Northern Regions.  It is marked through prayers, feasting and general merry making.  It symbolizes the end of the Ramadan fasting.   

Chimsi Chugu (Ed-Il-Adha) Festival

All Muslims hold it under the lunar calendar.  There are general prayers, feasting and slaughtering of ram to commemorate the days of Ibrahim (Abraham).    

Gobandawu (Yam) Festival

Gobandawu marks the beginning of the new harvest season by all traditional areas in the Northern Regions.The main activity is the sacrificial offering of yams and guinea fowl to in-laws.

The significance of this festival is to give thanks to the gods for a good harvest.