The year’s ban on noise making in Accra and its environs, imposed as prelude to the celebration of the Homowo festival, was lifted yesterday with a low key ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For years spanning over decades, the ceremony had been attended by a large number of indigenous people who eagerly await the beating of drums amidst spontaneous cheers and merry-making afterwards.
However, this year’s event was witnessed by a sizeable crowd with precautionary measures in adherence to the COVID-19 protocols of social distancing and wearing of nose masks by almost all present.
Additionally, the traditional rite was not performed at sunset but a few minutes after mid-day and did not last more than forty minutes with the elders and traditional leaders leaving the Gbese durbar grounds to their various abodes without delivering any speeches.
This is a clear departure from the usual merry-making event which lasted deep into the night.
Nii Ayi-Bonte II, Gbese Mantse and the Adonten of the Ga State beat the Odadao twin drum to signify the lifting of the ban.
The month-long ban was to allow the traditional priesthood to meditate and pray for bumper harvest prior to Ga Mashie Homowo festival, which is a month away.
The festival which means “hooting at hunger” has its historical antecedent in the migration and settlement of Gas in their present location when they experienced drought and famine.
After overcoming those challenges they marked the festival to commemorate their defeat over hunger.
Nii Ayi-Bonte, interacting with journalists in his palace, appealed for unity in the Ga State to ensure progress and prosperity since the bickering, disunity, and prolonged chieftaincy disputes could not be in the interest of anybody.
He appealed to the government to find a lasting solution to the perennial flooding in the city which usually led to loss of lives and properties.
Nii Ayi-Bonte advised the indigenous people, especially in the Ga Mashie area to take the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic serious since the rate of infection kept soaring, adding that , the only way to battle the virus was to adhere to all the protocols as directed while heeding to strict personal hygiene.
BY LAWRENCE MARKWEI