On Saturday I attended the Homowo Festival in Accra James Town which is celebrated in the Ga states by the Ga people of Ghana at various days throughout the month of August. The festival is celebrated in remembrance of the harvest they endured following a duration of failure of seasonal rains required for crop growth in the Greater Accra Region.
The word Homowo (Homo – hunger, wo – hoot) can mean “hooting at hunger” in the Ga language, which marks the beginning of a traditional year and harvesting of staple food ie maize.
A head of the Homowo festival day during May – June for 1 month there is a prohibition put on noise making, as it is believed that the maturity of the crops will be affected. Before the ban traditional rites are performed by chiefs and traditional priests & priestesses to purify the farm land that is used to grow millet or corn, encounter spirituality and social order for the coming year.
The day prior to the Homowo Festival is the Twin Festival which also encounters prior ritual preparations before singing and dancing take place during the main celebration where you see Twins parading the streets.
The local dish prepared for the festival is called Kpokpoi (or Kpekple), which is made from maize, accompanied with Palm nut soup and various fish or meat. I remember as a teenager helping my mum and aunts in the kitchen preparing the food. Houses belonging to royal family or a clan is sprinkled with Kpokpoi by chiefs – this is the feeding of the ancestors. Kpokpoi is also sprinkled around town mainly by traditional leaders or head of family. We entered some of the clan houses were big pots of food and people, continuous cooking so that everyone is fed.
We also entered one of the royal houses – Sempe Mantse We, where the elders all sat in the courtyard.
The festival period is also a time to remember and mourn those who had died during the year, reviewing of mistakes and to plan for the future.
The streets were lined with vendors, giant speaker boxes and people dancing, chanting or singing to drum beats and traditional songs. At various times I witness gun shooting in the air to mark the ‘hooting at hunger’.
I met some great people at the festival, had fun and late that night left with my belly full and foot mash up from the walking and dancing.
Going home I took a trotro (local bus) were I sat reflecting on the days traditional activities, feeling empowered to witnessing a period of history which has been celebrated for generations.
bless Sister E