The Akwambo festival is celebrated in August by the people of Agona and Gomoa districts in the Central Region of Ghana. The Akwambo literally meaning “path-clearing”, is celebrated by the people of Agona in the Central Region.
The Akwambo festival is usually a week long celebration to commemorate the journey and arrival of the founding settlers of the four towns of Gyinankoma, Ekrawfo, Atakwaa,and Otabenadze. Akwambo was first observed by the migrant ancestors of these people, whose primary role when they arrived in a new place was clearing paths to the rivers, farms and other communal places, consequently a day was set aside for this purpose and all those that used these paths were to gather and embark on the exercise. Today, activities such as Durbar, music and dance performances, soccer games, family or community reunions and parades forms part of the special celebrations.
The most important part of Akwambo is the ritual path clearing that is done in honor of the first settlers whoestablished the town. Every member of the community is expected to participate in clearing the paths and roadsleading to the town, as well as those that provide access to streams, rivers, farms, shrines, and communal spaces. Unpaved footpaths are weeded and maintained, while paved roads are ritually swept with branches, brooms, and fans made of leaves.
The following day, the whole community assembles at the ancestral shrines and libation is poured by the chief to the ancestral spirits to thank them for their protection during the previous year and then request for more blessing, abundant rainfall and good harvest for the ensuing year. At the stream or riverside where some of the sacrifices are offered, alligators and other species of fish come out to enjoy the mashed yams sprinkled on the water.
With their bodies smeared with clay, the people then parade with twigs and tree branches through the town in groups amidst drumming, dancing and firing of musketry. In a procession, they go through the principal routes and then to the durbar ground to meet the chiefs and his elders.
A durbar is usually held near the end of the Akwambo festival. Community leaders and chiefs are carried on coveredlitters in a procession of drummers, dancers, singers, musicians, and soldiers. A public reception follows, during whichspeeches are made by politicians and other dignitaries. Also at this time community members may bring forward anyconcerns or problems needing the leaders’ attention.
There is a vigil kept at night and patronized mainly by the youth. It is a time when people come together to renew family and social ties. Performing groups, which are dormant are revitalized and new groups initiated.
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