In 2004 / 2005 I made a missionary trip to Ghana to help establish a Christian work there. I ministered to the people corporately and privately. I learned a lot about the people, nation and customs. This lesson is written about the witchcraft practiced in Ghana. Basically the following is worship of demons and idolatry of other gods other than THE FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT. These bring many spiritual and other problems on Ghana contributing to the condition the nation is in today.

Significance of Festivals in Ghana

Many of the activities associated with the festivals result in tensions. We visualize these tensions through the metaphor of call and response dancers responding to the urgent call of drumming, food-carrying messengers responding, swaying and bending to the calls of the spirits possessing them. Women; cooling and praising with fanning cloths, responding to these spirit-laden messengers. The festival itself is a response to the call of spiritual and social renewal.

Fetish Priests

Fetish priests date back to at least 1733 and have played a significant role in Ghana. One practice was to drink fetish.

Black Stool

The Black Stool embodies the soul of the State and his authority to rule over his State.

Paul Isert's Letters (1786)

It is the general custom that if they present a stranger something to drink they have to try it first, before they present it to him as a sign that there is no poison in it. This custom may have been necessary in earlier times where they still tried to get rid of their enemies in that way. Now they know a more profitable method, they sell them to Europeans.

Festivals Held In The Akupem Traditional Area

It is the festival celebrated on two separate days to mark periodic visits to the sacred stool house for the performance of the rites of offering drinks and food to the sacred stools. The chief and his elders offer prayers to request long life, prosperity, knowledge and good health for the chiefs, elders and the people of the area.

If someone dies on the day of the Adae or the day before, it is considered a taboo, since it is viewed as desecration. In that case, the day is not observed and the relatives of the deceased, have to sanctify the sacred stools by the slaughtering of sheep.

All forms of noise-making activities are banned: the drums are not beaten, dirges are not sung, funerals are not held and mourning is banned. In ahort, it is a period of showing reverence to the gods and sacred stools by keeping noise levels to the barest minimum.

If anyone refuses to abide by the regulations governing Adaebutuw, the one is compelled to slaughter a sheep to pacify the gods.

One of the most significant festival celebrated is Odwire, during which the people sanctify themselves, get in tune with their inner-selves and make merry to appease their souls. That is the time the people remember prominent citizens, geniuses and their own deceased relatives.

During the celebration of the yam festival, the newly harvested yam is taken out doors and the gods are fed with the new yam. Before the new yam is taken out doors, it is a taboo to carry the raw yam in the open or sell it in the market place. It is also a taboo to eat new yams.

They feed their gods and ancestors, sanctify themselves and make merry. After parading the town with the new yam, the executioners go to the sacred grove to bring the Odwira. They also inform the chief and his elders about the good job they did at the grove. As they move around, they mark the foreheads and chest of the chief and his elders with a substance they bring along, to signify the Odwira blessing.

Wednesday is a very solemn day set aside for mourning the dead. They also feed their various sacred "stools - both small and great ones.

On Thursday, the drums are beaten and the people bring their ancestral food. The meals include these belonging to the paramount chief, sub-chiefs and great personalities who have passed on.

Many of the male adults who during their childhood, were paraded as the souls and relatives of the carriers, support them on both sides while they move in the procession to the grove where the ancestors are fed. At the grove, the chief stool bearer pours water on the ground and recites the following: Elders, we offer you water, Are you listening? We have no evil intention. It is once again, time to honor you, feed you and offer you water.

The procession returns to the Mpeni tree, which is considered as sacred. They proceed to the old palace, the sacred fenced old burial grounds for departed royals, and the entry points of the various sectors of the town, to perform the same activities. The elders also perform the rite known as sesadompe to end the day's celebrations.

The second Sunday, the paramount chief and all the males who have acted as his soul, sanctify themselves by observing Abam.

The Art and Culture of Ohum and Odwira

Odwira means purification. Like other parts of Ghana, Ohum and Odwira have important political, social and religious significance.

Purification of the land and people by the chief and priests for the spiritual and social renewal to face the trials and triumphs of another year - a high priest sprinkles water mixed with adwira leaves to cleanse and purify. Royal stools and sacred places are also cleansed.

Mourning those who passed away in the year. Making a new agricultural year by introduction of new yam, feeding with the brave ancestors who are deemed to be present on such occasions.

The festivals are mainly the dramatization of sacred traditions, myths, and legends, handed down by the ancestors of the Oman. Tuesday has stool washing rituals. Wednesday has State mourning for departed souls. Libation pouring and other customary rites are performed at the ancestral village. Thursday
set aside for general feasting and presentation of gifts to the stool.

By way of re-affirming allegiance to the Paramount Sto'ol, the chiefs come before the Omanhene, one after the other, to pay homage. After brief drumming and dancing sessions, the senior state linguist pours libation for the prosperity of the State and all present.

It is thought that fetish or juju is for the black man. One very interesting aspect of Akuapem social life is that Christianity is very dominant, yet the indigenous customs and traditions still exist.

Celebrations Event Day By Day

Monday: Path Clearing: After preparatory sacrifices, those will leave the town to clear the pathway leading to the royal mausoleum. It has a symbolic value. It does not only open the gates so that the ancestors may come in and eat, but also keeps the lines of communication open between the living and the ancestors so that the ancestors may travel home without hindrances.

Tuesday: Bringing in the Odwira: The group will return with a purifying, strengthening mixture which has been prepared. They will also bring other sacred materials, all combining to form the symbol representing the Odwira which will be ceremonially presented.

Wednesday: Remembering the Departed: Starting from dawn, there will be general mourning in remembrance of dead relatives in almost every house..

Thursday: Symbolic cleansing of the traditional area and people: The black stools will be taken to the Adami stream for purification. The ritual of unification will be done under strict security precautions.

Renewing of allegiance: Chiefs will go to the stool room to renew their allegiances to the paramount stool.

Feeding the ancestors: Food will be carried in procession to feed the ancestors. It is significant to note how many of the carriers of this sacred food are possessed by the spirits of the ancestors.

Customary blessings: Divisional chiefs will meet in the stool house to renew their allegiance to the Oton Stool.

Friday: Shortly before the great durbar, the ancestral food of the Asonahene stool will also be sent to Nsorem.


The above practices can be listed under the general practices of witchcraft:
spirits possessing those involved with these activities, submitting to fetish priests who worship other gods, eating and drinking fetish and juju food, worshiping and sacrificing to stools, selling their enemies into slavery, following taboos, sacrificing animals, showing reverence to the gods and stools, sanctifying cleansing and purifying themselves for worship of gods, worship of ancestors, worshiping sacred landmarks, dedicating children to dead ancestors, following sacred rites, traditions, myths and legends, and pouring libations. Take the person through deliverance from evil spirits.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

This is a traditional practice that has taken a deep root in the societies. The practitioners of FGM believe that they were chosen by the gods to practise this act. Therefore stopping the practice will mean that they have disobeyed the gods. As a result, the gods will bring hardships on them and their families; this might result in the death of the practitioner or a family member.

Some traditional beliefs which are incorrect are as follows.

Mothers believe that if their daughters are circumcised, then they can perform important rites at their funeral. A woman who has not undergone FGM is considered not clean enough to handle food or water and an unmutilated female cannot conceive. Some other FGM societies believe that if the clitoris touches a man's penis that man might die or become impotent. It is also the belief that the newborn might die if the head touches the mother's clitoris. If he does not die, then he will become a stubborn child as he grows. The frightening part is the belief that mutilation would prevent vaginal cancer; for fear of the unknown, the practice continues.

There are health consequences of FGM, physical complications and psychological effects: severe pain or bleeding, infection, HIV/AIDS, broken bones of legs, leaking of urine, painful menstruation, difficulty in the sexual act and during pregnancy and delivery, agony and pain leading to depression and isolation, fear of operation, dreading sex because of anticipated pain, dreading childbirth, frigidity, withdrawal, martial disharmony, dehumanizing, mutilation, and related characteristics. Pray for the person's healing of body and soul.

There are spiritual consequences of FGM: allowing a person to operate who is practicing witchcraft and is subject to gods (demons), and spirits associated with demonic traditional beliefs. Take the person through deliverance from evil spirits.

Additional Subjects To Consider

Do additional research to establish the need for deliverance and healing from ungodly beliefs, tradition, culture and idolatry from the following:

African Traditional Beliefs
Christianity and African Tradition
Relationship Between Traditional Culture And Christianity
Mysterious natural land formations
Sacred groves
Sacred reptiles
Shrines to gods
African diseases


2004 Akuapem Odwira Festival

The Mirror, Saturday, December 4, 2004