The centuries-old traditions of the people of Ghana and the diversity of the distinct ethnic groups have created a rich culture that is the splendid legacy of modern Ghana.
To the people of Ghana, the traditions of their ancestors are still an important part of daily life. Customary leaders have historical authority over tribal and family matters, and customary lands are an important heritage.
Important events in life are marked by special rites and rituals. Child naming, puberty initiations, marriage and death are marked by family ceremonies, while seasonal festivals bring a whole people or clan together in spectacular fashion.
A common feature is the belief in the Supreme Being, in life after death and in the nearness of dead ancestors. Festivals also recall past events, and consecrate a new season with confidence and hope.
Traditional fetish shrines, sometimes concealed but more often displayed, are important centres of worship and traditional healing, and an influential part of traditional life.
Of special significance are the Posuban shrines, particular to the Fante communities in Southern Ghana. Fanciful buildings lavishly decorated with folk art, they are religious centres for Fante warrior organisations.
Many festivals include thrilling durbars of chiefs, when tribal leaders and Queen Mothers process in decorated palanquins, shaded by traditional umbrellas, and supported by drummers and warrior discharging ancient muskets.
In Ashanti, the Adae and Akwasidae festivals vividly bring the splendour of the Asante kingdom to life, when the Ashantehene (King), adorned in all his gold regalia, comes out to receive the homage of his people. The Asantehenes dancers, praise-singers and horn-blowers surround the King and his procession, in a never-to-be-forgotten spectacle. The dates of many festivals are determined by traditional calendars, often decided close to the event.
|Festival||Month||Town & Region|
|Edina Buronya||New Year||Elmina, Central|
|Adae and Akwasidae||Every six weeks throughout the year||Kumasi, Ashanti|
|Dipo||May||Krobo Odumasi, Eastern|
|Fetu Afahye||September||Cape Coast, Central|
|Odwira||September/October||Akropong, Aburi Eastern|
|New Year’s Day||1st January|
|Eid ul Fitr||Variable (As the position of the Moon (Ramadan Festival) determines the day it is celebrated)|
|Independence Day||6th March|
|Eid ul Adha||70 days (10 weeks) from Eid ul Fitr (Festival of Sacrifice)|
|Workers’ Day||1st May|
|Africa Day||25th May|
|Republic Day||1st July|
|Founders Day||21st September|
|Farmers’ Day||1st Friday in December|
|Christmas Day||25th December|
|Boxing Day||26th December|