Festivals overview

in Ghana – Togo  Benin – Burkina Faso – Guinea Bissau – Senegal

Several times a year:
Gelede, masks festival of the Fon and Yoruba people in Benin: a public display by colourful masks which combines art and ritual dance to amuse, educate and inspire worship

Egun (or Egungun), masks festival of the Fon and Yoruba people in Benin: connected with ancestor reverence, or to the ancestors themselves as a collective force

Zangbeto, masks festival of the Yoruba in Benin and Benin: traditional voodoo guardians of the night, which are known as the “Night watchmen”

Voodoo rituals in Togo & Benin: our countries are the cradle of this religion with millions of adepts in Africa and in the Americas

Fire dance, traditional festival of the Tem in Togo: men perform the animistic ceremony of fire; dance in trance and worship fire

Ashanti Funerals, traditional ceremonies to commemorate the deceased at Kumasi, Ghana: attended by mourners wearing beautifully red or black togas.

Akwasidae, traditional festival at the Royal Court of the Ashanti King at Kumasi, Ghana: the Ashanti have their own traditional calendar in which every first day of the month is celebrated as the Akwasidae Festival

Awukudae, traditional festival at the Royal Court of the Ashanti Chiefs at Kumasi, Ghana: celebrated on special Wednesday of Ashanti calendar

Bwa (or Bwaba) dancing masks, traditional celebration in Burkina Faso: wooden masks representing different characters related to the myths of their families and clans

Leaves dancing masks, traditional celebration in Burkina Faso: these masks enter the village and they cover it in every sense in order to purify it.

Vaca Bruto, masks festival at Bijagos Islands, Guinea Bissau: helmet wooden mask representing a man in full possession of his physical strength but still immature in his behaviour because he has not yet undergone all the final initiation


Fancy Dress festival, Winneba, Ghana: a masquerade festival held on first days of January; a colorful festival that features brass band music

Voodoo Festival at Ouidah, Benin: thousands of believers flock to Ouidah, the historic center of voodoo worship, to receive blessings from the city’s voodoo chief



Carnivals in Guinea Bissau: tribal carnival on the islands: a display of all the sacred Bijagos masks and fetish. Bissau carnival: great mix of Afro-Portuguese traditions.

FESTIMA, masks festival every two years in Dedougou, Burkina Faso: attended by around 40 villages, each of them represented by their own group of masks

FESPACO, Festival of the African Cinema, every two years in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso: Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou is the largest film festival in Africa.



Festival du Sahel, music event at Lampoul, Senegal: the most important event concerning culture from Sahel

RAPANDAR, music event in Saint Louis, Senegal: created to promote hip-hop music



Aboakyer festival, festival celebrated by the Fanti of Winneba, Ghana: a bushbuck hunting by Asafo Companies (warrior groups), The first troop catching a live bushbuck presents it to the chiefs and people at a colorful durbar and is declared winner and highly regarded for bravery

Dipo, girls’ initiation by the Krobo, Ghana: one of the most impressive initiations in Africa, process through which a young girl becomes an adult woman from then on fully integrated with her society.

Jazz à Ouaga, music festival at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso: a well-established music festival bringing out the Afrobeat, soul and blues influence in jazz.

Saint Louis Jazz, music festival at Saint Louis, Senegal: the most important jazz festival in Africa



Bakatue, celebrated by the Fanti of Elmina, Ghana: used to mark the beginning of the fishing season in Elmina.



Asafotufiam, celebrated by the Ga-Adangbe of Ada, Ghana: in memory of the elders who died during the liberation war against the Ashanti.

Homowo, celebrated by the Ga of Accra, Ghana: in the remembrance of the famine that once happened in their history in pre-colonial Ghana.



Oguaa Fetu Afahye, celebrated by the Fanti of Cape Coast, Ghana: in the past there was an outbreak of disease among the people that killed many. The people prayed to the gods to help them to get rid of the disease. Thus the festival is celebrated to keep the town clean and to prevent another epidemic befalling the people.

Epe Ekpe, harvest festival celebrated by the Guen of Glidji, Togo: New Year celebration in traditional calendar. Main event: the ‘taking of the sacred stone’ known as Kpessosso, which will feature the starting year

Chale Wote Street Art Festival, celebrated in Accra, Ghana: the only art festival and the first to be organized in Accra,



Twins Festival, celebrated by the Fon and Houela of Ouidah, Benin: Twins are considered extremely special and a great blessing in Benin: Twins travel from all over the country and are given special food to eat, then they celebrate with their families

Millet Festival, harvest celebration by the Krobo, Ghana: seven days of celebration which end up with big durbar, gathering all chiefs and population

Odwira Festival, harvest celebration in Aburi, Ghana: the festival celebrates a historic victory over the Ashanti in 1826

SIAO, handicraft fair taking place every 2 years at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso: one of Africa’s most important trade shows for art and handicrafts.



Turtle nesting in Bijagos Islands, Guinea Bissau: Poilao Island is the main reproduction sites of the great green sea turtles (Chelonia Midas) in Atlantic side of Africa



Festival of “Black Divinity” in Aneho, Togo: motivation is to afford both Africans and Africans in diaspora an opportunity for their historical identification, restoration and promotion of African heritage.