In our part of the world, one thing is strikingly interesting and runs through the whole area. These are names: names of people, names of places, names of festivals. Ingenuity is on display when you hear the names of festivals like Homowo, Hogbetsotso and Asafotufiami.
But don’t take it lightly. These festivals are plenty of history, culture and business. Particularly, the Homowo festival brings the city of Accra to an entire standstill. Of course, it is in the ‘standstill’ periods that age-old customs walk shoulder high and prove their importance. Stay in Accra for just 3 days and you will realise that it is near impossible to calm the city down one bit like the Homowo festival does every August.
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Altogether, it adds to the fun of the season. Homowo is beautiful and a heritage. But what makes the festival of the Ga people so special? Let us take a look at 4 amazing reasons why Homowo has kept lots of tourists coming to Accra for so many years.
Plenty of History
Homowo is the main festival of the people of Ga-Adangbe in Ghana. If you are not new to African history, then you are not new to the Ga people and their exploits. Then, the Homowo and the story behind also are not new.
But no matter how much of the history you know, the firsthand experience of the festival, the city and the people is priceless. Some travellers know this, so they do not miss out. During the celebration of Homowo is in past years, the foreigners’ count is almost equal to that of locals.
No Drumming or noise-making, another face of Accra
The biggest feat of the Homowo festival is the moratorium on drumming and noise making for a whole month. Churches, Pubs, clubs and social gatherings obey this order to the end.
During the season of Homowo which runs right from when the ban on noise-making is instituted to when all the merry is made, Accra is a different place. Very, very few events can control the temperament of the ever vibrant, cosmopolitan city of Accra. Homowo is one of the few.
Who likes these times best? Business travellers, who later turn tourists during the Homowo proper, adore the peaceful quasi-quiet Accra to bits when the ban is in session. Movement around Accra is easier and the deals can be closed quicker with fewer distractions, they say.
Homowo; The Festival of Food
Celebrations go with food. Indeed, for Homowo, the gods are not forgotten in the feast. In fact, thanksgiving to the gods for the harvest is the fundamental reason for the celebration of Homowo.
Interestingly, Kpokpoi, the meal for Homowo is not your ‘everyday’ meal. It is not on the menu list of restaurants. At least, the culture and tradition have ensured that it is that special, traditional meal, nothing less. This trend is what many tourists love.
The preparation and especially the taste of Kpokpoi is excellent by any standard. Yearly, it is routine to find many people who travelled from overseas to Accra just to eat Kpokpoi. Sweet and sumptuous it truly is. It must be impossible to hate a meal that even the gods crave.
Those Ga-Adangbe People
In Ghana, it is undeniable that the people of Ga-Adangbe are some of the most interesting people you will find in Ghana. Actually, if you laugh so hard in Accra, you, likely, have met a Ga man or woman.
On first sight, their countenance should strike you. If you miss that, then, their language, especially, the tone and diction accompanying the Ga language spoken will attract you. Locally, Homowo is regarded as a local festival because the Ga community has made so many friends with expats that you are sure to see scores of ‘whites’ at the festival grounds.
The Gas have an infectious sense of humour much to the admiration of many; so much so that oldies and newcomers alike cannot wait to travel to and find an accommodation in Accra months ahead of Homowo.
All Fun and Excitement the Accra Way
Perhaps, the real deal after the big deal-the festival, is the fun and merry-making. The Homowo fever is not sickening enough without the enjoyment. After all, Homowo means hooting at hunger.
Nonetheless, it is having the fun in Accra that is double for the price. Labadi Beach Accra is one of the popular destination post Homowo-rituals where the crowd is astounding. This is the time when the business travellers who have been in Accra all throughout, sing ‘all work and no fun…’
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Amazingly, hotels in Ghana and other hospitality-inclined industries hanker after the season of Homowo. More bookings are expected. Top Accra hotels like Midindi Hotel, Eastgate Hotel Ghana and Airport West Hotel Accra offer mega dream deals for travellers to Accra. A typical Accra hotel or one of the resorts in Accra will spice up the festival with super-comfortable hospitality. Most of the top destinations in Accra are liveliest in this season.
This year the ban is already on-going and the anticipation of Homowo 2017 is heightening. If the signs are anything to go by then we are in for a headline this year, this Homowo. See you in Accra in August!
Credit: Kofi Baiden, Jumia Travel