Voodoo festival Epe Ekpe in Glidji, – end of August / beginning of September
Every year in the village of Glidji, 30 miles from Togo’s capital city of Lome, members of the Guen tribe gather together for the Epe Ekpe festival — part family reunion, part New Year’s Eve, part religious worship.
The highlight of the festival is the sacred stone, sought by a priest within a sacred walled-in forest. The stone’s color portends the fortunes of the coming year.
The blue stone announcing a year of rain and abundant harvests , if red will be a year of war meanwhile the black stone presages of famine, disease and devastating rain, finally the white stone indicating that the year will be blessed with lucky and abundance !!!
A general Jubilation, with the collective trance, accompanies the stone while it is shown to thousands of peoples come for the festival.
The festival continuing for a week in the villages surrounding Glidji.
GBAGBA Festival, Mont Agou, around Kpalime, – August
Every year in Togo takes place the great GBAGBA ceremony.Three reasons justify the festivities:
- Worship the Earth deities
- Signal the end of a farming cycle
- Celebrate the beginning of a rest period after a season of hard-work.
It is in the culture of the Agou people to believe that it is specific of human beings to give and receive as well as receive and be thankful by praising the merciful divinities because when the one who receives shows gratitude it always encourages the benevolence of the Gods.
That is how begins a three day enchanting ceremony, sort of a charming carnival: Enjoy the songs, colours, smells, dances in the sacred forest to the rhythm of the drums and the highlight of the ceremony when Apétofia arrives, also called Tiger-man!!! Apétofia is the greatest of all divinities and it is under tiger features that he joins his adepts to attend this exceptional ceremony. And you have no idea how exceptional the ceremony is going to be!!!!
THE FESTIVAL OF THE „BLACK DIVINITY“ – December
The festival of „Black Divinity“ which takes place in Togo-Aneho every year in December, will celebrate its VIII edition in 2014. The festival has become one of the biggest cultural event of Togo (nearly 50.000 participants expected each year). The aim is to bring together of artistic and cultural international performances which mantain deep roots with the cults and myths of Western Africa.
The 2013 edition was attended, among the others, by:
- The Candomble of Bahia de Salvador (Brazil),
- The Dogons (Mali),
- The Senoufo (Ivory Coast).
In front of the official tribune the parade suddenly slow down. Women fall into a trance, a priest stuffs mouth full venomous toad. The site is invaded with all celebrities ritual, intitiation and traditional: Togo, Africa, Latin America and elsewhere….. All the people gather to celebrate the common memory. The festival is experienced as a cultural meeting but certainly also as a true spiritual and emotional meeting (and even sporting … !) The opportunity of great surprises and discoveries, a feast for the eyes and for the heart.
Voodoo, a traditional religion on the Gulf of Guinea Coast, around Aneho
All along the coast of Benin and Togo, Voodoo, an animist religion, gathers a lot of followers together. Passed down by the ancestors, it is still practiced with fervor today. The religious experience is much richer and more complex than westerners can imagine. These voodoo practices are not a form of black magic. To millions both here and abroad Voodoo represents a religion that gives meaning and order to their lives. In a village we join in a Voodoo ceremony: The frenetic rhythm of the drums and the chants of the followers help to invoke the voodoo spirit who takes possession of some of the dancers
who fall into a deep state of trance. Traditional healers treat illnesses with local herbs and also by offering sacrifices to the numerous fetish altars that fill their courtyard. The God „Fa“ is an esoteric divinity consulted by people to solve their everyday big or small life issues. A fetish priest interprets the answers to the listening adept.
Tours with this festival:
Fire dance, traditional Festival of the Tem in Central Togo
In the heart of the village, a great fire lights up the faces of the dancers who start moving on the frenetic rhythm of the tam-tams. The fire- dancers in a state of trance throw themselves into the embers, grab them with their hands and put them in their mouths; they even run them over their bodies without keeping any trace of injury or showing any sign of pain. Is it a matter of courage? Self-suggestion? Magic? Such a performance is hard to explain. Maybe it really is the fetishes that protect them from fire.