The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, and Asanteman have celebrated this year’s ninth and final Akwasidae, a festival to amplify the achievements of Asanteman.
Usually a celebratory affair, the arrival of the Asantehene to the durbar ground was solemn as he continues to mourn the Berekumhene, one of the sub chiefs of Asanteman.
The Adaekese is usually held at Dwabrem, the biggest event grounds at the Manhyia Palace, considering the large attendance it draws but the Asantehene chose the smaller venue, Nana Afia Kobi Park, within the palace to observe the final Akwasidae for the year.
It nonetheless attracted a number of people, including traditional leaders, politicians mainly from the ruling party, religious leaders and other influential members of society.
Among the guests were the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, and his wife, Samira; the Minister of Energy and Member of Parliament (MP) for Manhyia South, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh; the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, and the Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery.
Also at the Manhyia Palace for the festival were the National Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Stephen Ntim; the party’s General Secretary, Justin Frimpong Kodua, and the National Organiser, Henry Nana Boakye, as well as some members of the clergy, Imams, and other influential members of society.
As custom demands, most of the celebrants donated assorted drinks and undisclosed amounts to support the festival.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu used the opportunity to highlight the need for residents and all wishers to contribute to the $10 million fund to help renovate the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, which is currently not in a good shape.
Adae Kese Festival (big resting place) is an important celebration among the Ashantis.
It is celebrated in either of two forms: the Awukudae, observed on Wednesdays, and Akwasidae, which is held on Sundays.
Both events are used to amplify achievements of the Asante Kingdom.
It was first celebrated to highlight the attainment of statehood of the people after the war in which the Ashantis had their independence, the Battle of Feyiase, was fought against the people of Denkyira.
It is also the occasion when the purification ceremony of Owura is performed at the burial shrines of their ancestral spirits.
Generally, it coincides with the harvesting of yam and hence the ritual is also called the "Yam custom" by the Europeans.
It is celebrated every two weeks by the people in accordance with the calendar of the Akans based on the cycle of 42 days and nine months in their calendar.
The festival is mostly held to climax celebrations of specific achievements and milestones of the people of the Ashanti Kingdom.