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Chapter 17 ‘Appealing for Grace’, The Guinea Corn Festival of the Nawuris of Northern Ghana

DOI: 10.23912/978-1-910158-55-5-3022

ISBN: 978-1-910158-55-5

Published: February 2016

Component type: chapter

Published in: Focus on World Festivals

Parent DOI: 10.23912/978-1-910158-55-5-2822



Festivals are recurrent celebrations and often with ritual events and meanings. Festivals reveal something of the identity, values and world views of the community or ethnic group that celebrates them (Szabó, 2015). Festive occasions involve local residents and visitors. In Ghana, there are several festivals celebrated by different ethnic groups. For example the people of Accra, the capital of Ghana, celebrate the Homowo festival, which is a festival that literally ‘hoots at hunger’. The festival was initiated following a bumper harvest after years of famine and hunger. The people of Akropong, Akwapim in the eastern region of Ghana celebrate the Odwira festival. It is a festival that enables the people to purify ancestral stools 2 and spiritually cleanse the towns and villages in and around Akropong. In the same way the people of Cape Coast also celebrate the Fetu Afahye festival, which is a multi-purpose festival that marks cleansing of the people of Cape Coast from a plague in pre-colonial times. The festival also celebrates an abundant harvest of fish from the sea and offers the opportunity for the people in the area to thank the seventy-seven deities of the Cape Coast for their protection over the years (Opoku 1970). The Ewe people of Anlo, in the Volta Region of Ghana, celebrate a festival called Hogbetsotso. It is a migration festival that tells the story of the escape of a group of Ewes from one of their tyrannical rulers, King Agokoli. The Dagomba people of the Northern Region celebrate the Bugum or fire festival. Local traditions provide two explanations for the festival. The first credits the origin of the festival to the Prophet Noah whose Ark docked on Mount Ararat. Local historians claim that after the floods the occupants of the Ark came out with torches to find their way out and around. The second version indicates that at a point in the history of the Dagomba people a king lost his son. The king assembled his warriors who composed a search party. They finally found the son in the night sleeping under a tree. Because they managed to find him using torches made from grass, the king decreed that every year the event should be celebrated with torches made from grass.

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  • Samuel Aniegye Ntewusu (Author)

For the source title:

  • Chris Newbold, De Montfort University (Editor)
  • Jennie Jordan, De Montfort University (Editor)

Cite as

Ntewusu, 2016

Ntewusu, S.A. (2016) "Chapter 17 ‘Appealing for Grace’, The Guinea Corn Festival of the Nawuris of Northern Ghana" In: Newbold, C. & Jordan, J. (ed) . Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers http://dx.doi.org/10.23912/978-1-910158-55-5-3022


Akyeampong, E. and Ntewusu, S. A. (2014) Rum, Gin and Maize: Deities and Ritual Change in the Gold Coast during the Atlantic Era (16th century to 1850), in Afriques: Débats, méthodes et terrains d'histoire, 5(3).


Ekundayo, J. A. (2007) The production of pito, a Nigerian fermented beverage, in International Journal of Food Science and Technology, 4(3), 217 - 255.


Kirby, J. P. (2006) Ethnic conflicts and democratization, new paths: Toward equilibrium in Northern Ghana, in Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana, New Series, 10. Odotei, I. K. ( 2002) Festivals in Ghana: Continuity, transformation and politicisation of tradition. Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana. New Series, 6.

Opoku, A. A. (1970) Festivals of Ghana: Past and Present, Accra: Ghana Publishing Corporation.

Szabó, J. Z, (2015) Festivals, conformity and socialisation, in C. Newbold, C. Maughan, J. Jordan, F. Bianchini (eds.) Focus on Festivals: Contemporary European case studies and perspectives, 40-45. Oxford: Goodfellow.

Zimon, H. (1990) Guinea Corn harvest rituals Among the Konkomba of Northern Ghana, in, Studia Ethnologica, 2, 207 - 217.


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