THE Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has been urged to feature festivals on the national tourism calendar to help them grow into prominence.
The Regent of the Nungua Mankralo Black Stool, Nii Bortey Kofi Frankwa II, who made the appeal, said the economic benefits of the celebration of festivals would be enormous if properly publicised for the people within the country and outside to know about them and plan towards participating in them.
“Festivals such as Kplejo alone can sustain the tourism industry if they are properly featured on the tourism calendar and given the right publicity,” Nii Frankwa II said.
Nii Frankwa, who doubles as the Oyibi Gonten Mantse, was speaking in an interview about the economic gains of festivals.
“Aside from forging unity among the people, the economic benefits of such celebrations cannot be lost on us because if the Ghana Tourism Authority and the State get involved, festivals can bring a lot of economic activities to the people,” he said.
The annual celebration, which begins with the filling of a special traditional pot with sacred water three times, accompanies other related customary practices.
It includes the pilgrimage from Oyibi to Nungua to deliver the first harvested sacred corn in the year to the Gborbu Wulomo (Shitse), Overlord of the Ga-Dangme State.
This paves the way for the Ga-Dangme people to begin the consumption of the new corn which is used in the preparation of the traditional food called ‘Kpokpoi’ and eaten throughout the celebration of the festival.
Nii Frankwa II explained that according to oral tradition, the Ga-Dangme people who were also in Egypt with the Jews made away with some of the corn seeds and planted them anywhere they settled during their migration process.
“Rites ahead of the festival start with the filling of the pots of the gods –‘Dudomlonuwoo’,” he said.
“They are, therefore, the first to celebrate the annual feast festival generally known as Homowo (hooting at hunger) but unlike the other Ga tribes, Nungua celebrates the Kplejo Festival instead of the popular Homowo,” he said.
July in Nungua
Meanwhile, a street carnival dubbed ‘July in Nungua’, which featured musicians such as Shatta Wale, was organised to climax the festival.
“It kept both the old, young, ordinary and royalty on their feet from night till the next day,” Nii Frankwa II said.
Reacting to the successful celebration, the Nungua Mantse, Odehekpakpa King Odaifio Welentsi III, was also thankful to the people and encouraged them to maintain the unity.
‘’This is what unity brings. We can only develop if we unite and it is only out of unity that Nungua can develop,’’ King Welentsi III said.