NATIONAL HOMOWO FESTIVAL
NORTH AMERICA

A Non-Profit, Non-Political, Benevolent, Socio-Cultural Organization Of Gadangbe  

Naa Korkor Botor Philadelphia, PA

 

     

     
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The Traditional Hɔmɔwɔ Festival

History and Purpose

Hɔmɔwɔ literally means jeering at, or hooting at, or ridiculing hunger” (aawɔhɔmɔyi)/ hɔmɔyiwɔmɔ)
History: For a considerable period far
into their history, the GaDangmepeople living in the area of the Ga plains of southeastern Ghana, or at some point in theirmigration, faced a very severe bout of drought, resulting inon both land and sea,and widespread famine. These included the people of Ga Mashie, Osu, La, Teshie, Nungua, Tema, Kpone, and Gbugbla (Prampram). After considerable meditation, fasting and supplication to God by the priests (Wulɔmεi) the drought was broken. There was a bountiful harvest both on land and at sea. The people were very happy and they celebrated the bumper harvests with a festival that ridiculed hunger (Hɔmɔwɔ). They have continued to celebrate this as an annual festival.

Present day Hɔmɔwɔ: The present annual Hɔmɔwɔ festival starts with the ritual  planting of crops (Ńm„„dumɔ) before the May rainy season and continues through August. The actual time for the August celebration is determined by the Ga Mashie Chief Priests after they consult with the Lagoon Oracles.

Sometime in June there is a total ban on noise-making throughout the State, and fishing is limited to certain days.  The period of the quietudeban on noise stands to remind people of the historical peace and meditation period when the supplication to God by the priests (Wulɔmεi) was successful in breaking the drought.  In early August the celebrations begin with a special?twin cult Yam festival in honor of the Oracles and twins.

All the GaDangme people are required by traditional law to return to their ancestral homesteads of their fathers for the celebration of the Hɔmɔwɔ Festival. The main celebration / event starts with the arrival of all the people who live outside the State. During the appointed week in the month of August thousands of people come from far and near to the main cities and towns.

In Ga Mashie, on the Thursday before the festal day/main celebration, thousands of people arrive with pomp and pageantryfrom the outlying villages with their harvested crops of all kinds and products of their trade. They are referred to as "Thursday People" or (Soobii). The Soobii, the local townspeople, and many musicians parade through the streets all day and into the night in a carnival fashion. Many of the young take advantage of these carnivals to meet and start new relationships.

At dawn on Sunday after before the main celebration, Memorial rites (Yalawoo) are held to honor all those who died during the previous year. Weeping and lamentation is heard from homes all over the State. This is followed immediately by a goodwill celebration to “Offer and Accept a new lease on life”(Ŋɔɔwala).Later on in the morning/throughout the whole day there is a Celebration for all twins and children of multiple births.  Twins multiple births are reguarded as special blessings and are revered by the Ga.

The Hɔmɔwɔ Day: The celebrations continue on Saturday, the Hɔmɔwɔ Day. Food for the Festival is cooked in large quantities. The special dish, "kpekpele," is prepared by steaming unfermented corn meal (m„akpiti). This is eaten with traditional palm soup prepared with lots of smoked fish.

The Hɔmɔwɔ Celebration (Nishw„mɔkεKɔgbamɔ): During /On the Hɔmɔwɔ Day each sub-chief in each town sprinkles “kpekpele” ritually at prescribed locations, in honor of the oracles and ancestors. The head of each family/homestead also sprinkles “kpekpele” in specific places unique for each family. After these rituals, people begin dancing and drumming through the streets. Visitors and total strangers are welcomed into homes, and invited to share in the traditional Hɔmɔwɔ meal. Following / In line with that tradition, the Ghanaians Club of Virginia (GCAV) invites you to share in eating the traditional Hɔmɔwɔ meal (“kpekpele”) today. The celebrations continue all Saturday night, and into Sunday morning.  This begins the GaDangmetraditional New Year.

The New Year: On Sunday morning and most of that day, there is the traditional celebration called “Ngorwala” (Ŋɔɔwala) literally meaning “have/accept abundant life” -  in essence a ceremony to ‘offer and accept’ a new lease on life. This iseɔpressedwith goodwill wishes for long life, peace, love, unity, reconciliation and tranquility. Even adversaries on this day put away their differences and become friends again. Homowo signifies peace, love and unity. After the “Ngorwala” celebration, the preparations start all over for the coming year.

The Hɔmɔwɔ celebration in other parts of the GaDangme State (Osu, La, Teshie, Nungua, Tema, Kpone, Gbugbla) follows the lead celebrations in Ga Mashie in succession annually, with slight variations in timing and the details

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Total population
Approximately 2.0 million
Regions with significant populations
Ghana - Greater Accra Region & Eastern Region-, Togo
Languages
Ga and Adangme

                 


Dr. Nii  Darkufio Dodoo

 

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