The Akuapem Traditional Council, in collaboration with Upplause Consulting, an events, marketing and brands company, has launched the 2019 Akuapem Odwira Festival, dubbed: Odwira Unlimited – ‘Okuapeman te ase’ at a colourful event held to display the rich culture and traditions of Okuapeman.
The festival, which is slated to take place from the 16th to 22nd September, 2019, featuring some colourful and fun-filled activities, promises to be a unique cultural experience as well as, an opportunity to learn about, and connect with the rich history of Okuapeman.
In a speech read on behalf of Nana Afua Nketia Obuo II, Queen Mother of Akuapem Traditional area, Nana Mfodjo Koranteng, Ahenemmahene, said this year’s Odwira festival marks 400 years since the first enslaved African arrived in Jamestown Virginia, and has also coincided with the “Year of Return, Ghana 2019”.
The occasion, he indicated, “will largely be celebrated to welcome our brothers and sisters from the diaspora. We therefore, echo President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s sentiments for the unification of Africans on the continent with their diaspora counterparts. The Year of Return is the perfect time for all to experience Odwira Festival in all its unique culture and splendor; to come home for an unlimited cultural experience with the people of Okuapeman,” he added.
Denis Aboagye, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of Akuapem South, assured patrons of the festival of his office’s support in the area of providing maximum security to ensure that lives and properties are safe throughout the period. He also stated that, he will be working hand-in-hand with all stakeholders to put Okuapeman on the global map.
“I want to commend the Traditional Council for this very innovative approach for deciding to partner with Upplause Consulting to showcase the beauty and colouful culture of Okuapeman Odwira to the world.” He further urged all to take advantage of the period to visit and share the excitements of this year’s Odwira Festival.
The celebrations are set to combine the cultural drumbeat at the heart of the festival with modern attractions aimed at creating an exciting experience. Starting with the Path-Clearing Ceremony, the celebrations will include activities such as the outdooring of ‘New Yam’, remembrance of departed souls, introduction of new Chiefs, the Grand Durbar among others.
In addition, this year’s Odwira will also feature some sporting activities, entertainment, and the display of local arts, as well as, hiking expeditions, mountain climbing, and a marathon. There will also be an opportunity to visit some historic sites, such as the Aburi Gardens, Boti Falls, Bosomase Falls, the Abontsi Slave Market, Okomfo Anokye’s home, the Larteh Shrine, and the Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Farm, a tour of the Chief’s Palace, amongst others.
For generations, the Odwira Festival has been celebrated by the people of Akropong, Amanokrom and Lateh in the Eastern Region. The Festival was initiated by the 19th Okuapehene of Akuapem, Nana Addo Dankwa 1 who ruled from 1811 to 1835.
First celebrated in October 1826, its significance is linked to the victory of the people of Okuapeman over the then-powerful Ashanti army during the historic battle of Katamansu near Dodowa in 1826. Being a Yam Festival, traditionally, the timing of Odwira also coincides with the harvest season when there is abundant food; gratitude for the harvest is especially expressed in the “feeding the Ancestors.
Due to its hilly terrain, the temperature there is very conducive considering the high temperatures in some other areas in Ghana. Odwira Festival is a week-long series of traditions and rituals performed to purify the town, the people and most importantly, the ancestral Stools of the Chieves. It is also a festival to celebrate the harvest of “new Yams”.
Six weeks prior to the occasion, some activities are forbidden and hefty fines or serious punishment are given to people who violate this ban. Some of these activities include, no loud music, no drumming, no whistling after dark and most of all no eating of yams. Odwira Festival is broken into six days and each day has a significance and a purpose. This starts from Monday and ends on Sunday.