Homowo is an annual festival celebrated by the Ga-Adangbe people of the Greater Accra Region of the Republic of Ghana off the west coast of Africa. This festival has been celebrated for centuries even before the invasion of the colonizers more than 400 years ago.
The festival was initiated after a period of hunger in the Ga state many years ago. It was a period of severe famine as the rains refused to come down in the area which is now today known as the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. After periods of prayer for intervention by the Ga-Adangbe people to their gods and ancestors, the rains started to fall and subsequently they witnessed abundant harvest, thereby birthing the festival which seeks to mock hunger and celebrate abundance whiles giving thanks to the gods and ancestors.
As such the name “Homowo” was derived from “Homo” being “hunger” and “wo” meaning to jest or hoot. Thus Homowo means to “hoot at hunger.”
Period of the Festival
The Homowo festival usually begins at the start of the rainy season in Ghana, which is somewhere in the Month of May. During this period, noise making, drumming, partying and celebrations of all sorts are banned in the Ga state due to the belief that such things hampers crop growth. This ban usually is a month long after which the festivities and celebrations begin – when drumming and music are allowed once again.
The celebration actually begins with the planting of maize which will be used in preparing the celebratory meal called Kpokpoi or Kpekpele. Kpepele is prepared using steamed and fermented maize, palmnut soup and smoked fish. The meal is made for eating and also for sprinkling around family houses and town – this is usually done by family heads and chiefs.
The celebration usually involves marching down streets and roads in the Ga state with chanting, drumming, singing, dancing and face painting.
On days of the festival, the Ga Mashie area usually sees a lot of traffic as many people from far and wide pour in to celebrate. The celebration is not limited to people with Ga ancestry alone, any one interested in witnessing and participating in the events is allowed to do join in.
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