Ghana — Festivals and Events
Celebrations are always grand in Ghana, whether it is for honoring religion, ancestors (Willa), rites of passage, or harvest (Gologo Festival). Many of these traditions are built upon long-celebrated practices, and within each region comes differing aspects of culture. You can always catch at least one festival regardless of when and where you choose to visit as Ghana has more than 100 events throughout the year.
Islamic in origin, this "fire" festival is held early in January and often celebrated with processions and festive dancing accompanied by lively drumming. It is primarily observed in Northern Ghana where the population is mostly Muslim.
Celebrated by the Elmina people, this festival is held every first Thursday of the new year. It is essentially a version of Christmas, and a tradition that dates back to the Dutch occupation. Some rituals carried out during this event include fish-catching, drumming and dancing.
Each year in February, Ghanaians from the Agave region celebrate Dzawuwu Festival, a thanksgiving event marked by offerings to the gods and traditional dancing, as well as colorful gatherings of chiefs.
This pre-harvest festival in March is observed by the Talensi people (Tong-Zug). It is believed to guarantee rain and a good harvest, and usually involves the sacrifice of goats.
This April 27 celebration gives thanks to Takpo ancestors. It is characterized by amazing traditions that are thought to secure protection and guidance.
This initiation rite observed in Krobo Odumase and Somanya towns to the north of Ghana’s capital celebrates girls becoming women. It is typically held in April and sees female tribe members decked out in beautiful beads.
Aboakyir is a deer-hunting festival in Ghana that is popular with the local Winneba people. During this celebration in May, two competing warrior groups prove their bravery and strength by catching a live antelope.
Environmental Film Festival
Held annually in Accra, this unique event takes place in the Holy Gardens, which turn into an open-air venue for screenings. The event is attended by thousands of movie-goers in June and features documentaries and various other genres. It is aimed at entertainment and education, but themes vary each year, though they always revolve around the environment.
Bakatue marks the start of the new fishing season on the first Tuesday of July. It is held in Elmina and is celebrated with a grand procession that includes offerings, a regatta and attendance by the chiefs, which is topped off with merry-making.
Held every two years in African countries in July/August, Panfest showcases different aspects of pan-African and Ghanaian culture. It is often commemorated with dance, music and drama performances.
Homowo is a Ga harvest celebration. Local people offer festive food to their ancestors and gods before planting crops to secure a successful season. It takes place each May.
This three-day festival in mid-September takes place in the northern sections of Ghana. You will likely see pageants and horseback riding displays.
Fetu-Afahye features a procession accompanied by drumming and dancing. It commemorates the first encounter of colonial visitors with Ghanaians. The festival is observed by the Oguaa people of the Cape Coast in September.
This historic November event is held in the Volta region. It marks the escape of the Ghana people from the tyrannical rule of invaders during the 17th century.
Hogbetsotso is a colorful fiesta that is held in the town of Hinloga. It is celebrated every first Sunday of November with large gatherings, drumming and dancing.