Kundum Festival of the Ahanta and Nzema People (See awesome photos)

The Kundum Festival is regarded as the oldest documented festival in the history of the Gold Coast. The first official documentation of the festival written in the early part of the 17th century by one Dutch voyager by name Bossman, who landed on the coast of Ghana (then Gold Coast). Bossman however believed the festival had been in existence for over a hundred years, in the late part of the 16th century before he chanced upon it to write the first known official document detailing its celebration.

The Festival is celebrated by the people of Ahanta and Nzema in the Central region of Ghana. Unlike most Ghanaian festivals which have specific commencement date and schedules, the Kundum festival does not have such, instead the start of the festival is based on the day the fruit of a certain type of Palm tree become ripe.

According to the people of Ahanta, the festival was instituted after one hunter by name Akpoley went to the forest for hunting and chanced upon a group of dwarfs dancing in well uniformed circular pattern. It is believed that the hunter, Akpoley, hid and observed the dance of the dwarfs, after which he went back to the Ahanta Township and introduced the new found dance to his people. Over time, the dance became associated with expelling evil spirit from the towns and Villages of the Ahanta and Nzema people.

As years went by and modernity set in, the kundum festival underwent several changes and became a festival celebrated to thank God for the abundance of food as well as protection of the people, hence making Kundum both a religious and harvest festival.

The festival lasts for a period of eight days and involves activities like drumming and feasting, as well as sacrifice of animals by the elders of the people. The sacrifice usually involves slaughtering of a fowl in a stool room by a few selected designated people who are normally elders of the town.

Another fowl is also slaughtered in public, at a durbar as a sacrifice to the gods and ancestors of the town, after which the ritual dance discovered by Akpoley is performed by the dancers and women of the town. The rest of the days are spent preparing food, eating and dancing.

The Ahanta and Nzema area receive thousands of guests every year during the celebration of the week –long festival. Most of whom are invited guests and tourists who come from afar to observe the tradition and festival.

How Kundum Festival is celebrated

Kundum Festival lasts for a period of eight days and involves activities like drumming and feasting, as well as the sacrifice of animals by the elders of the people. The sacrifice usually involves slaughtering of a fowl in a stool room by a few selected and designated people who are normally elders of the town.

According to the tradition of the people, the slaughtering of the fowl in the stool room is to clean the room and the traditional stool of any evil spirit or bad omen that may befall the chief and his elders.

Another fowl is also slaughtered in public, at a durbar as a sacrifice to the gods and ancestors of the town, after which the ritual dance discovered by Akpoley is performed by the dancers and women of the town. The rest of the days are spent preparing food, eating and dancing.

The Ahanta and Nzema area receive thousands of guests every year during the celebration of the week-long festival. Most of whom are invited guests and tourists who come from afar to observe the tradition and festival of the Kundum and Ahanta people.

 

Kundum Festival: The meaning of Kundum

The Kundum festival is celebrated by the Ahanta and Nzema people in the Western part of Ghana, precisely the Western region.

The festival originally began in the late part of the 1700 but has undergone a lot of changes over the last couple of centuries.

However, the core idea behind the festival which describes it as Harvest Festival still remains unchanged with the name of the festival, Kundum, meaning ‘Famine Could Not overpower Us’.

Why Kundum? The people chose the name after surviving a famine period in the early 1800s.

People who celebrate Kundum Festival

Kundum Festival is celebrated by the people of Ahanta Nzema in the Central region of Ghana. Unlike most Ghanaian festivals which have specific commencement date and schedules, the Kundum festival does not have such, instead, the commencement of the festival is based on the day the fruit of a certain type of Palm tree become ripe.

The festival is regarded as the oldest documented festival in the history of the Gold Coast.

The first official documentation of the festival written in the early part of the 17th century by one dutch voyager by name Bossman who landed on the coast of Ghana (then Gold Coast). Bossman, however, believed the festival had been in existence for over a hundred years, in the late part of the 16th century before he chanced upon it to write the first known official document detailing its celebration.

 

Why Kundum Festival Is Celebrated

According to the people of Ahanta, Kundum festival was instituted after one hunter by name Akpoley went to the forest for hunting and chanced upon a group of dwarfs dancing in well uniformed circular pattern.

It is believed that the hunter, Akpoley, hid and observed the dance of the dwarfs, after which he went back to the Ahanta Township and introduced the newly found dance to his people. Over time, the dance became associated with expelling evil spirit from the Towns and Villages of the Ahanta and Nzema people.

As years went by and modernity set in, the Kundum Festival underwent several changes and became a festival celebrated to thank God for the abundance of food as well as protection of the people, hence making Kundum both a religious and harvest festival.

Kundum Festival 2018: Here are all the spectacular photos you need to see

The chiefs and people Lower Dixcove in the Western Region climaxed the celebration of the annual Kundum festival last Saturday, August 18, 2018.

2018 Kundum Festival  PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival  PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival  PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival  PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo

Kundum, the festival of the Ahanta and Nzema people is marked over a four-week period to signify victory over hunger.

It is marked between August and September which is usually the bumper harvest season for food.

2018 Kundum Festival  PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival  PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival  PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival  PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival  PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo

This year’s festival was marked on the theme, “Let’s get involved in managing our fisheries resources,” seeks to highlight the severity of illegal fishing methods and the need to end it.

Historically, the Kundum Festival is believed to have first been celebrated around the 16th century.

2018 Kundum Festival  PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival  PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival  PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival  PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival  PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo

The first record of the festival was made by Bossman, a Dutch explorer who travelled to the then Gold Coast in the 17th century and observed the Abisaa dance, the dance that comes with its celebration.

The people who participate in the celebration wear distinctive dress, footwear, and sometimes masks.

The festival begins with musicians taking the drums to the five different shrines on the outskirts of town.

2018 Kundum Festival  PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival  PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival  PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival  PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival  PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo
2018 Kundum Festival PHOTO CREDIT: Ben Kwame Tomo