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Akwasidae Festival of the Ashanti in Kumasi
The Akwasidae Festival (alternate, Akwasiadae) is celebrated by the Ashanti people and chiefs in Ashanti, as well as the Ashanti diaspora. The festival is celebrated on a Sunday, once every six weeks, according to Wikipedia. The Akwasidae Festival is next only in importance to The National Day celebrations.
Akwasidae, traditional Festival at the Royal Court of the Ashanti King in Ghana, in Kumasi, is part of a tour by Transafrica, that also includes Togo and Benin. (Please note we have advertised an approximate price. We are in no way affiliated to Transafrica, we are purely sharing their tour on our site).
The first day of a new month is a huge celebration called the Akwasidae festival. It takes place in the royal palace and gathers hundreds of people, all dressed traditionally.
The ceremony opens in the throne room, where only the initiates are allowed. Ritual libations of blood and schnapps are poured onto the thrones of the former kings as offerings to them and to the ancestors.
Then the king, the Asantehene, makes an appearance in the royal court where he takes a seat under a large brightly colored umbrella. Dressed in vibrant colors and adorned with large pieces of antique gold jewelry, he greets his people. (Ashanti gold jewelry and masks are part of the master pieces of the African art)
In front of the king, a corridor opens up where members of the court come to swear allegiance to the king and give him some gifts. There are chiefs in the shade of their umbrellas, sword carriers, bearers of ritual knives, armed guards with loaded rifles and nobles with ostrich feather fans. Sitting next to the king are found the dignitaries of the court.
The royal speaker, called a “linguist”, is standing by the king’s side and holds in his hands a golden scepter as a symbol of the Asantehene power. The Queen mother, the most important woman in the realm, is also present and surrounded by her court exclusively made up of women. To accompany the ceremony, “griots” tell the glorious stories of the past Ashanti kings, musicians play drums and ivory horns giving the rhythm to the ceremony and women wrapped in bright red clothes dance performing traditional steps characterized by a succession of delicate and rapid movements.