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The Akwasidae Festival is celebrated by the Chiefs and the Ashanti people in Kumasi the capital of the Ashanti Region in Ghana, and throughout the Ashanti Diaspora. The festival is meant to pay respects to the ancestors who have gone on. Akwasidae which is of high importance to the Ashanti people has maintained its format for centuries.
The festival is celebrated on Sunday, once every six weeks or once every 42 days.
Unlike many celebrations in Ghana and West Africa that have been somewhat commercialized for non-native consumption, Akwasidae has maintained its authenticity and that might have contributed to its increasing popularity among many non-natives who want to experienced an authentic Ghanaian celebration.
On the day of the celebration, the Asantehene (King of Ashanti) meets his subjects and sub-chiefs in the courtyard of the Manhyia Palace. The Golden Stool or Throne (which is said to have descended from the sky at the formation of the Ashanti Empire) is displayed at the palace grounds in the presence of the king, and people visit in large numbers, singing and dancing.
The king is paraded on his palanquin which is decorated with elaborate gold jewelry. Before he is taken around on his palanquin, the king observes the colorful parade from his position at Manhyia Palace. The parade includes drummers, dancers, horn blowers and many others together with the numerous participants, observers and in recent years, many visitors and tourists.
As part of paying respects to ancestors, the Asantehene visits the Bantama Mausoleum (the final resting place for Ashanti royalty) and offers worship to his ancestors’ thrones and to their remains.
You may time your visit to Ghana to coincide with the celebration of the Akwasidae festival in Kumasi. You can join in the festivities but as the festival presents one of Ghana’s most picture perfect opportunities, take enough films.