It is an ever-inspiring breeze on the Kwahu Ridge all year round, and even more so during Easter when people from all walks of life and nationalities throng here to celebrate the long holiday.
With activities ranging from paragliding, hiking, carnivals and street jams, the indigenes, that is, the Kwahu people mark it as a homecoming event, whilst for holiday revellers, it is purely a time to party, wind down and take in the beautiful scenery, the fantastic weather, enjoy unique and authentic tasting cuisine as well as explore the ridges, valleys, caves, and the other wonders of nature that Kwahu has.
During these times, human and vehicular traffic is at a perpetual standstill, stretching from the base of the Kwahu hills-Nkawkaw, through the roads leading up to the various towns on the hills. Intending to have the time of their lives, it is not uncommon to see some revellers abandon their vehicles in the gridlock and start their mini parties by the roadside with “sittings” at the various pubs and spots strewn along the main road.
In fact, for the three or so days of the Easter period, one may not be able to distinguish between night and day save for the change in weather. It is a constant sea of parties and carnivals organized by various groups, companies, media houses, and associations, all bent on making the most of their time- be it to make money, socialize, identify business opportunities, reunite with family and friends, or perhaps even get a life partner. And for the businesses already set up in Kwahu, there is certainly no “cocoa season” better than this time of year, and they indeed do look forward to it year after year.
And oh, one cannot miss the signature tagline of “Kwahu oooo Kwahu …”, which has come to be associated with the celebration and which starts being promoted by various media houses across the country, especially in the capital, Accra, a month or two before the Easter month.
One will not be wrong to say that the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Christ have benefitted the Kwahu people more than any other tribe or group in Ghana. It is why Easter has become synonymous with Kwahu.
Then 2020 came, and with it, COVID-19
The weather on the Kwahu mountains was as inspiring and inviting as ever, undoubtedly waiting for revellers to experience its goodness and authenticity. But this was not to be, following the declaration of the Covid-19 pandemic by the World Health Organization, leading to lockdowns by many countries. This resulted in anxiety and doubts about whether the most significant event on the Ghanaian calendar- the Kwahu Easter festivities- will come on as usual.
Also conspicuously missing were the usual shouts of “Kwahu ooo Kwahu, Kwahu ooo Kwahu, ” which would have been blaring on most radio stations in anticipation of all that would happen on the mountain top.
As many of us know, the Easter celebrations were cancelled in 2020 and 2021. As disappointing and sad as it was, it was also a good move by the kwahuhene and his elders because having life post-covid meant having many more Easter celebrations.
In 2020 especially, the streets of Kwahu were as silent as a cemetery for the entire Easter period, and if a pin had so much as dropped, one would probably have been heard it beyond the boundaries of Kwahu. It was unusual for Easter but like a normal day for those who live there all year round.
Economic activity associated with the period was almost non-existent; selling and buying weren’t as vibrant as in previous years. As a result, the District assemblies couldn’t raise their targeted revenues for the period. Radio stations also lost out on revenue they would’ve raked in from the numerous event announcements, Live Presenter Mentions (LPMs) and jingles. And as for the drinking spots, nightclubs, restaurants and other social centres, the least said about their predicament, the better; they were virtually empty.
But thankfully, Kwahu easter is back this year. And it is anticipated that it will be bigger and better than all the previous years combined because of the 2-year break. So, before you start your journey up the mountains, let me whet your appetite by walking with you, literally, through the Easter celebrations and all the happenings so you know what to expect.
Highlights of the Kwahu Easter Celebration
The Easter programme starts with the on-the-road “Akwaaba Night”, hosted by Linda Dor Rest Stop at Bunsu junction on Easter thursday night till daybreak. This program usually features up and coming artists and some popular ones. The whole idea is to give people an indication of what to expect as they take a break there on their journey to Kwahu to either eat, drink, use the restroom, or stretch their limbs.
From here, most revellers pumped and charged up for all the excitement ahead continue their journey, a journey that allows them to enjoy the beautiful scenery on the way as the gridlock will not allow drivers to speed anyways, even if they wish. In fact, one can do at least some 3 hours commuting from just Nkawkaw (the main town before Kwahu) to the mountaintop, a distance which one can do in less than 20mins on a typical day. It is why some people abandon their vehicles to party away till it seems ok to them to continue to their actual destination.
Kwahuhene hosts a special welcome programme at Abene, with Chiefs and prominent Kwahus paying homage to him on Easter Friday mornings. Kwahu citizens all around the globe come home to pay homage to our very respected Chiefs and elders. Libations are poured to plead with our heritage forebearers and ancestors to intercede on our behalf. Various projects initiated and supervised by Chiefs and residents are formally opened, or sods are cut to commence them. Disputes are settled, and the doors open for a boom in economic activities.
Visit to the numerous beautiful tourist sites in Kwahu is the following activity for hundreds of people on friday afternoon. These sites include The Paragliding Site [Odwen-Anoma mountains, Atibie-Kwahu], Buruku Rocks & Shrine, Butuase Waterfalls and the Roman Catholic Grotto [Kwahu-Tafo], Jay’sJay’s lodge provides the eight hundred and eighty-eight  steps to climb the Obo Plateau and do the canopy walk and fly on the Zipline [Obo-Kwahu], The Mysterious Caves [Twenedurase], The Stone Age Park [Abetifi-Kwahu], Canoe ride on the Afram River [Adawso], The Oku Falls [Bukuruwa] and many others.
It’s a party all night long on friday nights. There are various street carnivals and jams at every nook and cranny. All streets on the mountaintop-Obomeng, Obo, Mpraeso, Bepong, Tafo, Abetifi and Nkwatia are packed and jammed with people. Corporate bodies climb up the ridge to market their products and services and sponsor many of these activities.
Musical platforms are mounted on the streets, makeshift discos and pubs also spring up almost everywhere. These host famous Ghanaian music stars, many of whom usually perform free in the open space for an excited and enthusiastic audience. These events run non-stop from Friday night to Sunday night.
In the elite and prestigious hotels like Rock City, the biggest hotel in Africa, Nyarkoah ba Nyarko, Wags, Modak etc., the excitement is at a constant crescendo. Exclusive and high-level programmes are held for the accomplished and wealthy businessmen and women of Kwahuman along with their friends, acquaintances, and business partners from overseas and other parts of the country. Here, equally seasoned musicians and entertainers like Kojo Antwi, Daddy Lumba and Amakye Dede are on the bill and never disappoint.
The period is also used as a reunion for families as they meet to share their successes and challenges. Marriages are contracted, and divorces are sealed and stamped in some homes. Broken homes are mended, and some families are separated forever. So a lot happens during this period.
Sporting activities, especially football galas, are organized by institutions and drink distilling companies between the major communities. These activities are organized to foster unity and teamwork amongst the various towns. There is also the popular paragliding event which is usually patronized by the brave at heart. There is never a dull moment at the mountaintop. There is so much to see and do. The whole of Ghana can be said to be there at this time of year.
And let me add that hotels are fully booked around this time, in some cases, months ahead of the Easter period, as it is always a first-come, first-serve scenario even with the apparent upward adjustment in prices. Townsfolk also cash in by offering their homes as “hotels”. So that is a tip for you to book ahead of time the next time you plan your trip to Kwahu for the Easter.
Easter 2020 and 2021 were certainly quiet, but one thing that remained consistent was the weather. Just like it happens on Easter Fridays every year, there were very strong winds that pushed down banners, plantain and banana trees and anything in its sight that it could uproot. That was the reminder of the easter season in the two years. gave a semblance
Thankfully, this year, Kwahu Easter is back like it never stopped with twice the excitement and everything good that the period has been come to be associated with. I have already started preparing, what about you? See you on the mountaintop in a few days. “Kwahu ooooo Kwahu”.
>>>The writer is a member of the Kwahu Professionals Network and a royal from Kwahu Tafo. He works with the National Health Insurance Authority and serves as the Operations Manager of iCare [Ninajali] Africa. He has lived and worked in Kwahu for the past 16 years and is undoubtedly a walking encyclopedia and your go-to person for everything Kwahu. Email: [email protected] Facebook: Kwasi Gyimah Instagram: ispiritplusgh