For the first in a long while, this year’s Homowo festival over the weekend witnessed the largest patronage in the Ga Mashie enclave and the Central Business District of Accra.
The large crowds of people had taken over every part of the streets to the extent that motorists spent hours in a stand still traffic in getting to the city centre.
Friends, tourists, families from the diaspora were there in their numbers to interact with their indigenous families to emphasise the core point of the celebration which meant reconciliation, unity, peace and great family reunion through sharing of kpokpoi; a traditional meal.
The entire area was turned into carnival grounds as hugs, handshakes and dancing were common characteristics with a charged atmosphere amid blaring of music stationed at every corner as if in competition with each other.
As if that is not enough, some tricycle owners also mounted music boxes on the roof of their cycles weaving from area to area blaring Ga folkloric and traditional songs to set the area agog.
When the Ghanaian Times got to the vicinity to observe the first sprinkling of kpokpoi by the Gbese Mantse as the tradition demands, Nii Ayibonte II, clad in all red, the colour for the day since Homowo was more or less, a remembrance day for the ancestors, was followed by a retinue of sub- chiefs.
They included the newly enstooled Noyaa Manye (Development Queen) Naa Okaitso Mnulami, the British High Commissioner in Accra, the long queue made their way to heritage sites including Ussher Fort to sprinkle the kpokpoi.
As tradition demands, when the Gbese Mantse finished sprinkling the kpokpoi at the heritage sites and was heading back to his palace, his retinue would stop at the Ga Mantse’s Stool House in order to fraternise and hug each other to signify unity between the Ga Mantse and the Adonten of the Ga State, the Gbese Mantse.
However, this year the presence of the Ga Mantse at the Stool House could not be ascertained by the reporter, thus, the Gbese Mantse as required by tradition placed his umbrella under that of Ga Mantse and danced to the call of Ga Mantse’s Obonu drums before moving on.
After retreating to his palace, the Gbese Mantse, begun the second part of sprinkling of kpokpoi in major family houses under his jurisdiction which signifies permission for other traditional council members which included the Ga Mantse, SempeMantse, Akamajey, Otublohum, Asere and Abola Mantsemei (chiefs) to follow suit.
Significantly, some sub-chiefs and family heads also joined in showing respect to their beloved departed family members which brought more people on to the streets to perform the sacred duty of sprinkling before nightfall.
At nightfall ushered in the second part of the celebration which was about all-night merry making across Ga Mashie and its environs.
The festival continued yesterday, with special events for reconciliation, family reunions for family and friends in palaces and family houses for feuding parties to reconcile.
This time clad in all white regalia, the chiefs sat in state to interact with the people, received their blessings and equally extend theirs to the people to end the festival.
Speaking to his people, Nii Gbese called for peace and unity among the Gbese people in particular and that of Ga Mashie in general, adding that, development could only be achieved on the basis of peace and unity.
He said the goodwill of the people throughout the phases of the festival showed that the people were prepared to ensure that the ancestral heritage of the Homowo was not always marked with pomp and pageantry but was also given the needed impetus to become can event on the international cultural calendar.
BY LAWRENCE MARKWEI