La Homowo attracts huge patronage
The people of La in the Greater Accra Region last Wednesday marked this year’s Homowo festival with the “kpasɔlem”, a rite of worship unique to the people.
The whole-day celebration was characterised by ‘kpalala and kpashimɔ,’ a craft of singing about matters of current affairs that bothered the people.
Scores of people thronged the ‘kpatsoshishi,’ the native expression for the venue of the ceremony, at the forecourt of the Lakpa deity, clad in white and a shade of light blue.
As part of the rites for the ceremony, traditional priests and other key community leaders were seen adorned in sacred leaves known as "nyanyara", which are believed to ward off evil.
The celebration, on the theme: “Building a progressive La by safeguarding our heritage”, was also spiced with other activities, including exhibition, sports competitions, health screening and a street carnival.
Dignitaries at the event included the Member of Parliament (MP) for La Dade-Kotopon, Rita Naa Odoley Sowah; the Chief Executive of La Dade-Kotopon Municipal Assembly, Solomon Kotey Nikoi; former MPs of La, Sylvester Mensah and Nii Amassa Namoale, and the Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Ashie Moore.
Nii Adjei Koofeh IV (2nd from right), La Shikitele, performing the Kpaa dance
Others were the MP of Ada, Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe Ghansah; Prophetess Beatrice Naa Ayorkor Osabutan Otsedzen, and members of the La Local Council of Churches and La Muslim communities.
Traditional leaders in attendance included the La Shikiteli, Nii Adjei Koofeh IV; the La Mankralo, Nii Obodai Adai IV; the La Akwashontse, Nii Yemo Din II; the acting La Dzaasetse, Major General Samuel Nii Anum Odotei, and Agbawe Akutsotse, Miyemliniaba Nii Adjei Asua Oweeni II.
Others were Klanaa Akutsotse, Nii Kotey Amli IV; Dzaasenye, Naa Akua Omanyenye; the acting La Otsaame, Nii Anum Tetteh, and the Supreme Head of Ankrah Royal Family of Otublohum Dadeban-Naa, Nii Adjabeng Ankrah II.
Kpas lem ritual
The Lakpa Wulɔmɔ — the Chief Priest of the La State — Nuumo Yemo Obroni VII, clad in traditional white shorts and a neck wear, led the people to perform the kpasɔlemɔ rites.
He started the first part of the ceremony with a prayer to the gods and ancestors as he performed libation and a cleansing ritual three consecutive times, carrying a century-old ceremonial broom from one shrine to the other, the two shrines positioned on opposite ends of the ritual arena.
The spiritual leader did the same thing with a ceremonial artefact, called “brɔŋg”, after which he danced from one end of the arena to the other where he embraced the Sakumɔ Wulɔmɔ, Nuumo James Adjei Komieteh.
The La Mankralo, Nii Obodai Adai IV; the La Shikitele, Nii Adjei Koofeh IV, and the Naa Yoomo Wulɔmɔ, Nuumo Samuel Anetey Abbey, followed suit, taking turns to do the kpashimɔ to the tune of the kpalala.
They were also accompanied by priestesses, known as Wɔyei.
Prior to each one’s performance, they would first seek permission from three ancient drums believed to be deities.
Symbolically, twin children believed to have been gifts from the gods, wearing mostly white — the boys in braided palm hats and the girls with white scarves on — sat on stools marked with symbols from their various family houses.
During the second part of the ceremony, the priests and priestesses danced to tunes, supposedly under the influence of their deities, while the Agbuminte group of young men and women held painted sticks, moving in and around the forecourt of the Lakpashishi in search of the Agbuminte Mantse.
Homowo, which means hooting at hunger, is celebrated by the Ga people to mark a bumper harvest after a prolonged famine due to drought suffered by their ancestors during their exodus from Israel to their present settlements.
The main characteristic of the festival is the sprinkling of “kpokpoi”, the traditional meal prepared from palm oil.
Aside from the cooking, sprinkling and eating of “kpokpoi”, each of the Ga towns has a unique way of celebrating the Homowo festival.
It is celebrated by all sects of the Ga State with slight variations.