Apoo festival is a festival for the purification of the people of Techiman and its environment to rid them of social evil. It is usually celebrated in the month of March but extends into the month of April. Apoo comes from the root word ‘Po’, meaning ‘to reject’. In context, Apoo means the rejection of evil, abominations, calamities, curses, worries, and other forms of social menaces. During the celebration, the people concentrate on purifying themselves and the land of their sins.
The significance of the festival is to gain favour from the royal ancestors to ensure a bumper harvest at the end of the year. There is a period set aside when anyone from the area provides feedback to whoever has offended him or her; insinuations are cast on the evil doings of some of the citizens. The Chief and his people are also brought under scrutiny and are provided with ideas for improvement.
The festival is climaxed with Nananom of Techiman Traditional Council dancing to Apoo music.
One of the highlights of the festival is ‘Hyereko’ (Collection of white clay). This is when white clay collected from the Aponkosu River, is used to
decorate the shrines in the traditional area, while the priests/priestesses also use the clay when they are possessed by spirits…”
The Apoo Festival is celebrated annually in Ghanaian towns like Techiman, Nkoranza and Wenchi in April/May.
According to Nana Twi Brempong the ‘Apoo’ festival began during the reign of Nana Kwakye Ameyaw who was an authoritarian and therefore, the people of Techiman at that time could not express their views freely on what was happening. He noted that the people were peeved during that period but could express their views. Since the people could also not let those in authority account for their stewardship, they consulted the
gods of the area who asked them to set aside some days for them to come out and say what was on their mind more especially about the
traditional authorities at that time.
During the period of “Apoo” it was agreed that one could not be held responsible for what he or she said. The people would say “Mereko po
me haw” which literally meant “I am going to say what was on my chest (mind)” and this was how the “Apoo” festival came into existence. The significance of the festival among others are to measure the people in authority and also to enable them give account of their stewardship, protect and preserve their cultural identity as a people as well as promote the well being of the people.
The festival is not only about the people venting their spleen about traditional authorities also used to recognise people in society who had
distinguished themselves or done something good for the society. Thus “Apoo” is also used to promote social interaction as well as settle family
disputes among citizens of the area. Like most Ghanaian festival, it is also a time that citizens both home and abroad come together to undertake community projects. Nananom also pour libation during that period to ask for prosperity, peace and success.