Ghana is among the West African countries with rich traditions and cultures. In Ghanaian society, it is traditional to view time as a sequence of events instead of minutes and hours. This is because they usually take life at a relaxed pace. There are several ethnic groups in Ghana, and each group has its traditions. Ga-Adangbe tribe is one of the ethnic groups whose culture is most prosperous and vibrant. The Ga-Dangbe is also known as Ga-Dangme, GaDangme, Ga-Adampa, Ga-Adangme, Ga-Danmeli, Ga-Adampe, Ga-Adangbe, Ga-Adanme, and Ga-Ada.
The Ga and Adangme people are usually grouped as part of the Ga-Dangme ethnolinguistic groups of Ghana, Benin, and Togo. They mainly live in Greater Accra Regions. The name Accra was traditionally derived from the Ga kingdom of Nkran.
Dangme is the language that is most used in the Greater Accra Plains. On the other hand, Ga has occupied the town areas around Tema and Accra.
Where do the Ga-Adangbe come from?
The Ga-Adangbe came from a city in Egypt called Goshen. The group stayed there for some years, before deciding to leave the city during 672-525 B.C. During that journey, they crossed Ethiopia and then moved to Nigeria. They later migrated to West Africa and eventually stopped in Ghana, which became their permanent home.
Ga usually includes Ga-Mashie and Gaspeaker, who migrated from Akwapim, Anecho in Togo, Akwamu, and the surrounding areas. After settling in West Africa, Ga and Adangbe were highly influenced by their neighbors.
They even borrowed some of the vocabularies from Guan, particularly the words relating to statecraft and economic activities. Also, other tribes such as Ewe are believed to have influenced the Adangbe.
Ga-Adangbe tribe cultural aspects
Like any other tribe, the Ga-Adangbe people have their own culture that is still observed and followed to date. Their culture has many traditional economic and social benefits.
The culture is usually introduced to their children as they grow up. They are expected to stick to it regardless of their status in the future. Do you want to know the culture of the Ga-Adangbe tribe?
The Ga people have many cultural beliefs related to Shamanism and Christianity. Shamanism was their first belief when they worshipped their ancestors and gods. Their original religion is associated with a spirit called ordzemawon.
How do the Ga's call God? Ataa-Naa Nyonmo is the name of their god. They believe that this god is a supreme spirit that created the whole world, and, therefore, this supreme being has both male and female features. Ataa-Naa Nyonmo means “the god who is both”.
This means that Ataa stands for males while Naa stands for females, and Nyonmo stands for divine power. Also, their creator, god, is sometimes called “Maawu,” or “Ofe” or the “first ever.” Abomsam is known to be the head of all evil spirits.
Some of these spirits are associated with unique places. These spirits are known to change their shapes at their will at any time. Priests can either be male or be female. The female spirit mediums usually communicate with their voices, unlike in the case of male mediums.
However, some of the Ga people have moved to Christianity after it was introduced to them in 1835 by Joseph Rhodes, a Christian missioner who used to live near them. Over the years, some of the Ga people have also become Muslims.
Ga-Adangbe tribe festivals and celebrations
At the beginning of every year, these people plant and grow crops to prepare the Homowo festivals. The festival means “hooting for the hunger.” They believe that they did not have any crop left in the past centuries due to the inadequate seasonal rains that made the people experience severe hunger. Therefore, this festival is celebrated to overcome starvation.
There are other celebrations and festivals that these people have to prepare every year. During the last week of July to the first weekend of August, they usually have a celebration called Asafotu or Asafotufiami. This is for the deceased victors who fought on the battlefield for the Ga people to be where they are today.
Music and arts
There are many preparations for dances and music that are made by these people. They usually make carved stools, jewellery, richly woven cloth, brass gold weights, and gold aircraft.
Their music and dances always include different dancing styles and drumming. The girls usually dance Klama dance on the last day of their rite of passage. Kpanlogo is one of the best Ga-Adangbe dances. The dance style was developed in the 1960s.
The musical instruments used for this dance include sogo, kidi, kaganu, and atsimevu. They are all in different types, sizes, and shapes. Other instruments used to make the dance vibrant are Gankogui, which looks like a gong or double bell, and an axatse, which is a rattle.
Rites of passage
The rites of passage events for boys and girls in Ga-Adangbe tribe are not conducted in the same way. There are many rules and regulations that girls pass through during this period as compared to boys. At puberty, the girls go through a training called Dipo, which is known to be the formal rite of passage. The event takes place in April every year.
During the first day, the girls shave their hair, and they have to wear short clothing that goes up their knees. Then, they match around the neighborhood on parade.
The following day in the morning, the chief bathes them using goats blood as a sign of dealing with an evil spirit that might make them incapable of reproducing. Then they are made to sit on the sacred stone to check if they are virgins.
The girls found not virgin or impregnated by someone in the community cannot get a man from the tribe. After successfully passing all these tests, they are then taught by ritual mothers on how to give birth, nature, housekeeping, cleaning, how to seduce, and treat their husbands well.
They are also taught how to dance Klama dance. The dance takes place on the last day of the whole rite process. During the last day, the girls who have transitioned into womanhood are well dressed up with beautiful kente clothing and accessories. Then any man interested in one of the girls can start talking to the girl’s family.
What language do the Ga Adangbe speak? They speak in Gbe language. Ga-Adangbe does not have a specific dialect, and therefore, the language that is mainly used is Ewe. Fon, Gen or Mina or Phla-Phera, and Aja are some of the spoken dialects. However, many Ghanaians are now forgetting their mother language because English has become widely used today.
Like any other African tribe, the Ga-Adangbe tribe has hundreds of symbols with deep meanings and specific messages. They are also used to enforce particular virtues. However, the Ga symbols are held by some of the community elders. These symbols are considered sacred, and not everybody is allowed to view them.
Ga staple food
Ga women are highly skilled in preparing different foods and making beer using various natural items. The activities require a lot of knowledge and are labor-intensive. Also, Ga women have been traders since the sixteenth century.
Since then, they have been selling their agricultural produce. They mainly sell fish, maize, beer, and even prepared foods. However, their staple food was, and is still, Komi or Kenkey, and it is usually made up of fermented steam corn dough.
Ga-Adangbe traditional wear
These people have unique traditional cloth called kente that is usually worn on special occasions. In the early days, this cloth was being worn during happy occasions only. However, in the modern days, the clothing is normally worn for almost every occasion, including religious worship, rites of passage, funerals, and weddings.
The Ga women also make accessories using beads, gold, wood and then wear them during these important occasions.
Ga-Adangbe tribe is one of the ethnic groups from West Africa that is well known for its rich and vibrant culture. These people take their culture seriously and do everything that was set in place by their forefathers. They are still observant of how to dress during occasions and the types of food to eat. Also, there are a series of actions Ga people follow on every occasion.
Yen.com.gh recently reported on the different festivals in Ghana and their dates. Like any other nation, Ghana has its traditions, culture, and practices different from one religion or ethnic group to another. As a result, each group has specific dates to celebrate their heritage in event festivals every year.
These festival events have importances such as purification of gods, development planning, thanksgiving, dispute resolution, maintaining culture, rites of passage, tourism promotion, and political and national significance.