Friday, August 26, 2011

Hooting at Hunger

Homowo Festival and Accra Orientation

Last Saturday, August 20, we visited the Homowo Festival in the Grand Rapids Sister City of Ga West, specifically Amasamadan. Homowo means “hooting at hunger” in the Ga language and is a festival that celebrates the end of a great famine. Every year, in the month of August (usually the last two weeks) this festival is celebrating with a tribal procession, led by the village or district chief. He sprinkles a ceremonial mixture of maize and oils around the village, signifying the end of hunger because now we may “spill food on the ground.” And this ceremonial sprinkling ends at the village cemetery where the ancestors are also fed this special mixture by placing it on their graves. You can see the excitement and joy in the procession in the photos.

One element that was wonderful about the procession is how the people of the village embraced us and became friends with us, holding our hands and teaching us to dance and to “hoot at hunger” with them.

After this, a shaman performs a ritual re-enactment of the famine story and then there is a second procession of the chief and queen mothers entering for a grand Durbar of speeches, ending in a feast.

And then, I just fell in love with this dress and hat ensemble! Splendid!

We met the chief and the mayor and the queen mothers and many more chiefs from surrounding villages. It was so much fun! One of my favorite moments is when we left to go visit the mayor, who was supposed to be speaking, and we found him still in his office, holding up the entire day's events! He welcomed us, gave us cokes and fantas to drink, sat with us, took a photograph and THEN he finally went to the Durbar to give his speech. It was quite the fiasco!

The following day, we toured the city of Accra: Makola Market, the Bus station, the National Museum, the Cultural Center, James Town, the Jaynii Beach Foundation which supports local homeless children in a shelter, and ended with a lovely group dinner in Labadi Beach. Here are some photos of that journey too!

No comments:

Post a Comment