The Ohum Festival is a significant cultural event in Ghana, celebrated by the Akuapems and Akyems communities in the Eastern Region of the country. It is a festival steeped in tradition, and it holds great importance to the people who celebrate it.
The festival is typically observed on a Tuesday or Wednesday in September or October, depending on when the Ohumkan festival was celebrated by the Akyems. For the people of Akuapem, the festival falls on a Sunday in December or January. In the weeks leading up to the event, a ban on noise-making is imposed, signaling the start of the festival’s preparations.
The Akyems use the Ohum Festival to show their gratitude to their creator for blessing their land with the Birim River, which is a significant source of water and livelihood for the people in the area. The festival also serves as a reminder of their ancestors’ struggles and perseverance in keeping their society intact. During the celebrations, the people use products from their lands and the river as symbols to remember their forefathers.
At the festival, the people make pledges to continue the tradition and keep their kingdom strong, free, prosperous, and peaceful. They pledge their allegiance to their king and his sub-chiefs and elders for their leadership and guidance. The festival serves as a time for reflection and renewal of their cultural values and practices.
The Ohumkyire aspect of the festival is specifically held to thank God for the New Yam Harvest and to seek His favor in the coming year. It is a time to celebrate the Akyem Nation’s history and heritage and to showcase their unique customs, music, dance, and attire. Overall, the Ohum Festival is an important cultural event that highlights the rich cultural heritage and traditions of the Akuapems and Akyems people of Ghana.
Photo Credit: Ashesi University