Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia, yesterday, nearly turned this year’s Akwasidae festival in Kumasi into a rally grounds as his presence ignited excitement among revellers that attended the festival.
Accompanied by over 80 Members of Parliament (MPs), the Vice-President was mobbed by enthusiastic attendees who could not hide their joy from the glamorous sight of Dr Bawumia.
Cloaked in beautiful Asante Kente and accompanied by second lady Samira Bawumia, supporters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) who attended the festival sang praises of the Vice-President as he walked through the enthusiastic revellers to exchange pleasantries with the Overlord of the Asante Kingdom, Otumfour Osei Tutu II.
The Akwasidae Festival is a magnificent Asante celebration centered on ancestral reverence, remembrance and acknowledgment of past Kings and noble feats.
It serves as a celebration of the Golden Stool and a cultural vibrancy that brings together the Asantehene, sub-chiefs and subjects at the Manhyia palace.
Even though it was not the first time the Vice-President attended the festival, he became the centre of attraction as patrons could not stop admiring his humility and shouted his name in admiration, proving that Dr. Bawumia continues to be an attracting force to members within and outside the NPP.
The Akwasidae Festival is celebrated on a Sunday, once every six weeks, and is believed to be the next only in importance to the National Day celebrations.
The ceremony opens in the throne room, where only the initiates are allowed. Ritual libations of animal blood and schnapps are poured onto the thrones of the former kings as offerings to them and to the ancestors.
The Asantehene then makes an appearance in the royal court where he takes a seat under a large brightly coloured umbrella. Dressed in vibrant colours and adorned with large pieces of antique gold jewelry, he greets his people.
In front of the king, a corridor opens up where members of the court come to swear allegiance to the king and give him some gifts. There are chiefs in the shade of their umbrellas, sword carriers, bearers of ritual knives, armed guards with loaded rifles and nobles with ostrich feather fans. Sitting next to the king are found the dignitaries of the court.
To accompany the ceremony, “griots” tell the glorious stories of the past Ashanti kings, musicians play drums and ivory horns giving the rhythm to the ceremony and women wrapped in bright red clothes dance performing traditional steps characterized by a succession of delicate and rapid movements.