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Different cultures, many festivals and a lesson to learn… experience it

There are thousands of tribes all over the world. Each tribe has its own unique cultural practices. A festival is one of the things that can identify a particular tribe besides language or geographical location. All year round festivals are celebrated to mark events, seasons or traditions.  Individuals could witness and be part of different festivals provided they are at the right place and at the right time. It is very important to know when festivals are celebrated all over the world.

A festival is an event, a special day or period of time, usually staged by a local community or group which focuses on some theme, sometimes on some unique aspect of the community. Festivals can be religious, food/harvest, renaissance, musical or cultural.

Some festivals are universally celebrated while others are cultural specific.  Every year, Christians all over the world celebrate Christmas to signify the birth of Jesus.  During Christmas, people share gifts, do volunteer work and/or give to the needy.  In a similar manner, Muslims celebrate Idll Fitr, to mark the end of Ramadan. Ramadan is a month of fasting which starts by observation of the crescent moon.  The significance is associated with the period when the Koran (Quran) was revealed to Mohammed to be passed down to Muslims.  This is characterized by alms giving and self discipline observed by Muslims all over the world. Just like Christians and Muslims, Jews also have special festivals. The Passover is a Jewish festival that is observed to celebrate the exodus and freedom from Egypt.

Cultural festivals are celebrated by people from specific cultures or tribes. Every year, the Anlo (An-lor) tribe, a sub group of the Ewe tribe in Ghana, celebrates Hogbetsotso (Hor-gbe –tso-tso) festival to commemorate the migration of the Anlo people from an ancient walled city where they were ruled by a very wicked king called Agorkoli. Not able to withstand the king’s wickedness, the Anlos through brilliance decided to pour laundry water on one specific spot on the walled city.  This process weakened the spot and one night in a crafty fashion, all the Anlos escaped, walking backward for a long distance so that their footprints could not easily be traced. The Anlos were so successful in their plan that every year since their escape, (date unknown), the Hogbetsotso festival is celebrated to commemorate the event in history. This is a week long celebration which starts on every first Saturday in November with a grand durbar of chiefs and people amid drumming and dancing to war songs. This festival is held at Anloga, the traditional home of the Anlo tribe.

By review, there are many tribes of the world that identify themselves with unique cultural festivals.  Some festivals such as Christmas, Idll Fitr and Passover are celebrated worldwide by religious groups while others are based on tribal cultures. A festival like Hogbetsotso is an example of festivals that are associated with a specific tribe.  When you attend any festival, be sure to ask the locals or cultural groups what is the significance of their call to celebrations.

by Emmanuel Amenuvor

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