Ghana pulsates with life. From the bustle of downtown Accra to the atmospheric adobe villages of the north, from the ancient Kingdom of Asante to the mediaeval mosques of Larabnga and Bole, it is a country whose immense cultural diversity both thrills and fascinates visitors, drawing them into a daily rhythm that is uniquely and unmistakably African.
A common feature of all Ghanaian cultures is the love of festivals.
Barely a week goes without one or other town or village holding its major annual celebration, while everyday personal events such as funerals, name-giving ceremonies and weddings tend also to be imbued with something of a carnival atmosphere.
The normal starting point for exploring Ghana is the historical capital Accra, one of the safest and most navigable African cities, and brimming with interest.
Accra’s atmospheric older quarters Usshertown and Jamestown are characterized by an architectural cocktail spanning several centuries, spiced with striking landmarks such as the 17th century Osu Castle and Jamestown Lighthouse, the more modern Independence Arch and Nkrumah Mausoleum, and the lively fishing market.
Modem Accra is epitomized by Cantonments Road, more widely known as Oxford District, Accra’s hip downtown with bustling shops, handicrafts, fabrics, hotels, restaurants, and many more.
Ghana’s second city Kumasi is the traditional capital for the Asante people, heirs to a centuries-old kingdom that once sprawled from its core in central Ghana into what are now Cote d’Ivoire, Togo and Burkina Faso. Better known to outsiders as Ashanti, Asante was the last and most enduring of a succession of centralized states that controlled the goldmines of Obuasi, though its wealth and influence were also linked to the ample supply of captives it provided to coastal slave traders.
Traditional Ashanti landmarks include a beautiful 300-year-old fetish shrine at Besease, the royal kente weaving village of Bonwire, and Manhyia Palace, where the Asante King sits in session every sixth Sunday, heralded by a procession of dignitaries and a fanfare of exuberant drumming and horn blowing that capture the pageantry of Asante’s past.
There is also the coastal Fante Kingdom, Asante’s southern counterpart and traditional rival, centred on Mankessim and incorporating the ports of Cape Coast, Elmina, Anomabu Saltpond and Winneba, where local fishermen still ply their trade in colourful pirogues, and life is ruled by the whimsical winds and tides of the ancient Atlantic.
The north of Ghana, by contrast, has strong cultural links to the sandy Sahel, clearly visible in the local style of dress, a strong Islamic influence dating back to mediaeval times, and the captivating mud architecture of villages such as Paga, Sirigu and Larabanga.
The Colourful Festivals
A popular feature of Ghana is the great festivals held around the country, for the most joyous affairs are when locals dress up in their finest traditional attire and tourists are welcome to join in.
Some of the more important of perhaps 100 local festivals have become special tourism events.
Below are some of the beautiful cultural festivals celebrated by Ghanaians…
- Bugum Festival
- Edina Bronya Festival
- Rice Festival
- Kpini-Kyiu & Tenghana Festivals
- Danso Abaim & Ntoa Fukokuese Apafram Festival
- Papa Festival
- Dzawuwu Festival
- Damba Festival
- Ngmayem Festival
- Asikloe Festival
- Volo Festival
- Lekoyi Festival
- Kurubie Festival
- Lalue Kpledo Festival
- Gologo Festival
- Bugum, Serpeemi & Wodomi Festivals
- Aboakyir (Deer Hunt) Festival
- Beng Festival
- Osudoku Festival
- Donkyi Festival
- Don Festival
- Asafu festival
- Ahumkan Festival
- Gyenprem Festival
- Ahobaa Festival
- KETE Festival
- Ebisa Festival
- Kli-Adzim Festival
- Ahoba Kuma Festival
- Apiba Festival
- Nkyidwo (Monday Night)
- Bakatue Festival
- Bombei Festival
- Ekyen Kofie Festival (Yam Festival)
- Kuntum Festival (Yam Festival)
- Wodomi Festival
- Asafotu-Fiam Festival
- Odambea Festival
- Ahoba Kese Festival
- Edim Kese Festival
- Equadoto Festival
- Homowo Festival
- Apatwa Festival
- Awubia Festival
- Kundum Festival
- To mention a few.
The Traditional Drumming and Dancing
Learn Authentic African Drumming and Dancing Come and experience African drumming and dancing at its finest; in a classroom on the beach with Ghana’s only female master drummer.
Cape Coast hosts an array of talented musicians, and you can take a class with one of the best! Learn some West African songs, their history and their dances.
Africa is well-known for its music, and the dancing that accompanies it.
You can participate in these wonderful arts that have been performed for centuries.
Learn how villages use “talking drums” to communicate within the village and between different villages, a technique that is still in use today.
Learn a traditional song and dance that is performed at funerals and weddings.
The fascinating stilted village of Nzulezo founded some 500 years ago above the jungle-bound Lake Amansuri, is the centrepiece of a community-based wetland reserve that supports a dazzling assemblage of rare birds.
The haunting curvaceous adobe architecture of northern Ghana, exempt- lifted by the medieval Larabanga Mosque near the entrance of Mole National Park and the century-old Wa-a’sPalace in the remote town of Wa.
The Surreal Posuban Shrines
The Posuban shrines of Elmina, Anomabu and Mankessim, are outsized and mildly surreal military storehouses whose fusion of indigenous and exotic iconography attests to five centuries of interaction with European traders and settlers.
The ten ancient Abosomfie ‘fetish shrines’ that dot the lush countryside of Asante, many of which remain in active use, were collectively proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980.
This centre was built in memory of the famous African-American scholar-born civil rights leader, who spent his last years in Accra. this is the place for Pan African Culture
The Centre’s arts and crafts bazaar and traditional textile market is the best place in Accra to find traditional handicrafts from all over Ghana
The National Museum in Accra is the largest and oldest of the six museums under the administration of the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board.
The museum building was opened on 5th March 1957 as part of Ghana’s independence celebration.
The official opening was performed by Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Kent, and the Late Princess Marina.