Ghana: The country’s best festivals

Two women in colorful clothing and jewelry hold a small Ghana flag.

There are around 70 major traditional festivals in Ghana annually that center around its culture and history, as well as many festivals that focus on art, food, and music. With such a large quantity and wide variety, you’ll undoubtedly find one that strikes your fancy; and a great way to learn more about a country, its people, and its values is experiencing a festival alongside the locals. Festivals are a year-round occurrence in Ghana – so if you can travel there, chances are you might be able attend one of these inspiring events.

Homowo (Traditional)

Occurring every May in Ghana’s capital city of Accra, Homowo is one of the larger festivals in the country. Homowo refers to an act of “jeering at hunger,” or laughing in the face of famine. As such, activities here include folk singing with tones and prose that chuckle in the face of hunger. The festival is celebrated mostly by the Ga people, who previously traveled across Africa and faced great famine before settling in what is now Ghana. Many seeds are sown at this time, with a large fest to come after the harvest in September.

Accra Food Festival

This festival is a great place to try a variety of both traditional and non-traditional cuisines – food lovers rejoice! There is, of course, plenty of food and drink local to Ghana, but you can experiment with food found from other parts of the world as well, all for affordable prices.

Bakatue (Traditional)

Celebrated by the people of Elmina on the first Tuesday in July, Bakatue roughly refers to “draining of the lagoon” – the Benya Lagoon, specifically, which flows naturally into the sea. At the commencement of fishing season, activities such as the “net casting” ceremony serve to honor the deities, who act as agencies of reinforcement for the fishing community. In this ceremony, the catch from the net casting is offered to the gods; but in preparation for the festival, activities such as net fishing are banned from the lagoon for six weeks prior.

Nkabom Literary Festival

This festival is an opportunity to experience a wide breadth of artistic expression – you can find writers, illustrators, poets, designers, musicians, painters, and more. The aim of the festival is not only to network artists with other artists, but also to celebrate literature as a whole.

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