April 21, 2014

Akwasidae

Festivals and Events | Adae Kese Festival

The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei II, sitting in state at Manhyia Dwaberem on 19/04/2009 during the celebration of the Adaekesee. On his left, seated on the Hwedom Chair, is the National Stool of Asanteman, i.e the Golden Stool.
The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei II, sitting in state at Manhyia Dwaberem on 19/04/2009 during the celebration of the Adaekesee. On his left, seated on the Hwedom Chair, is the National Stool of Asanteman, i.e the Golden Stool. Photo: Kumasi Info

The Adae Kese Festival is a very important, albeit rare, celebration of the Ashanti’s. It is held in a large open space in Kumasi. The festival is normally well attended and embraced by Ashanti’s from all walks of life. The Adae Kese celebrations are magnified forms of Sunday Adae festivals, celebrated every six weeks in accordance with the Akan calendar which is based on a cycle of 42 days and nine months in a year. Invariably, the last Akwasidae festival is set aside for the celebration of Adae Kese.

Adae Kese is usually held to climax celebrations of specific milestones and achievements of the Asante kingdom. It was first celebrated to mark the attainment of statehood of a newly celebrated people, in the aftermath of the Ashanti war of independence, otherwise known as the “Battle of Feyiase”, which was fought against the Denkyiras between 1697 and 1699. Adae Kese, like other Akwasidae events, serves as the platform for pledging allegiance to the kingdom and to affirm loyalty to the occupant of the Golden Stool which represents the unity and embodiment of all Ashanti.

The event is marked in two phases. There are solemn private observances which are performed at the King’s palace chambers by accredited members of the royal family and other functionaries. It includes rituals, aimed at cleansing the spirit of the incumbent King and the presentation of ceremonial sacrificial meal (Esq.) and drinks to ancestral spirits. Their blessing and protection guide the kingdom to prosperity.

The public celebrations take the form of a colourful durbar of chiefs and queen mothers presided over by the Asantehene. It involves the display of cherished regalia and paraphernalia accompanied by traditional drumming and dancing as well as firing of musketry amidst pomp and pageantry.

The Adae festival is a continuous demonstration of faith in the vision and heritage of the Asante Kingdom, which has existed since the introduction of the Golden Stool in 1700. The festival is also to commemorate and re-enforce the independence of the Ashanti people and an occasion to re-affirm each state’s loyalty to the confederacy instituted in the aftermath of the Ashanti war of independence fought against the Denkyeras between 1697–1699. It provides a platform for the King to meet and share his thoughts with his sub-chiefs and subjects and also reward deserving ones.

Time your visit to coincide with an Akwasidae Festival, (Sunday Adae). You can determine the Akwasidae dates by counting 6 weeks down the calendar from 1 Adae. For example, in 1991 the dates were: January 6, February 17, March 31 May 12, June 23, August 4, September 15, October 27, December 8.