Manhyia Palace Museum where the festivals are held in Kumasi
|Observed by||Ashanti of Asanteman|
|Significance||Festival of commemoration of ancestors|
|Celebrations||Marks the seasons and the timings for various agricultural activities|
|Date||Sunday, once every six weeks|
|Frequency||9 times per year|
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. The Akwasidae Festival is next only in importance to the National Day celebrations.
The Akan annual calendar is divided into nine parts, each lasting approximately six weeks but varying between 40–42 days in a period; the celebration of this period is called the Adae Festival. The Adae Festival has two celebration days: the Akwasidae Festival is celebrated on the final Sunday of the period, while the Awukudae Festival is celebrated on a Wednesday within the period. The Friday preceding 10 days to the Akwasidae is called the Fofie (meaning a ritual Friday). As the festival is always held on Sundays (Twi in Kwasidae), its recurrence could be after 40 or 42 days in accordance with the official Calendar of Ashanti. During the last Akwasidae of the year, which coincides with the Adae Kese Festival, special attention is given to make food offerings and donations for helping people. The festivals of Adae are not interchangeable as they were fixed from ancient times.
The rites on this day relate to honouring personal and community ancestors. A gathering called Akom occurs in which drumming, dancing and singing are a normal celebration to honour Abosom (lesser gods in the Akan tradition) and Nsamanfo (spiritually cultivated ancestors). Food offerings include special items such as eto (mashed African yam), garnished with hard-boiled eggs. Every Ashanti celebrates this festival. For those Ashanti who do not observe the festival of Odwira, the Akwasidae is very important to commemorate their ancestors.
On this day, the Asantehene (King of Ashante) meets his subjects and subordinate chiefs in the courtyard of the Manhyia Palace. The Golden Stool (throne) is displayed at the palace grounds in the presence of the king, and people visit in large numbers, singing and dancing. The king holds his durbar on the occasion of the festival, and people have the liberty to shake hands with him. Before holding the durbar, the king goes in a procession in a palanquin decorated with gold jewelery. He also witnesses a colourful parade, from his palace grounds at Kumasi. Participants of the parade include drum beaters, folk dancers, horn-blowers and singers. As it is festival of paying respect to ancestors, the king visits the Bantama Mausoleum and offers worship not only to his ancestors' chairs (stools), but also to the skeletal remains of his ancestors.
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- Opokuwaa 2005, p. 92.
- Fuller 2004, p. 103.
- Braffi 2002, p. 10.
- Ayisi 1992, p. 83.
- "Manhyia Palace". Ghana Nation.com. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- Pierre 2004, p. 55.
- "Ghana Festivals". Ghana Photographers Resource.com. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- Ayisi, Eric O. (1992). An Introduction to the Study of AfricanCulture. East African Publishers. p. 83. ISBN 9789966466174. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- Braffi, Emmanuel Kingsley (2002). Akwasidae and Odwira festivals. Mystic House. p. 10. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
- Fuller, Linda K (2004). National Days/National Ways: Historical, Political, And Religious Celebrations Around THe World. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 103. ISBN 9780275972707. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- Pierre, Yvette La (2004). Ghana in Pictures. Twenty-First Century Books. p. 55. ISBN 9780822519973. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- Opokuwaa, Nana Akua Kyerewaa (30 May 2005). The Quest for Spiritual Transformation: Introduction to Traditional Akan Religion, Rituals And Practices. iUniverse. pp. 92–. ISBN 978-0-595-35071-1. Retrieved 25 November 2012.