Traditional Festivals and Their Celebrated Foods

Most traditional festivals in Ghana have their own food its celebrated with. People believe they are food for the gods and others say it is a way of showing their culture to the world. Nonetheless, these foods have unique preparation process and have different meanings to different people. We would take you through a few of these foods, when it is usually eaten and what is is prepared with.

Kpokpoi /Kpekple

 Kpokpoi /Kpekpleis a food eaten by the Gas of Ghana during the celebration of Homowo festival, which is to hoot at hunger. The Hͻmͻwͻ Festival is a harvest festival celebrated by the people of the Ga Traditional Area, in the Greater Accra Region. It originated from a period of great famine which was eventually followed by a bumper harvest in grain and fish. Thus, the word “Hͻmͻwͻ”, literally means “hooting at hunger”. The main highlight of this month-long festival is the special dish prepared from ground corn, steamed and mixed with palm oil and eaten with palm nut soup. This food is sprinkled on the streets by Ga chief is followed by a retinue with drumming, dancing and singing through his area.

Oto/ Etor

It is a sacred dish made from yams puree and palm oil. This food is prepared with yam, most preferably the Pona specie of yam. The yam is boiled hot then mashed and then stirred with hot palm oil.  Most Ghanaians serve it with egg and others serve it in the same  way but garnished with pear. This dish is mostly served at the Yam Festival celebrated by the people of Asogli in the Ho Municipality located in the Volta Region of Ghana. Oto is also served at the naming ceremony for a new baby (an “outdooring”) or the purification of the mother after birth, at puberty ceremonies/rites for girls like the Dipo Rites and Bragro Festival.

It is also served  at festivals associated with twins, whom the Akan and Ga people consider sacred, at special occasions after the birth of the third, seventh or tenth child of the same sex (sacred numbers in the Akan and Ga cultures) and also houses are sprinkled with Oto to satisfy or feed the dead or ancestors. Oto is one food that is valued much in Ghana and one can say it carries a lot spiritual significance in Ghana.


Akple isa traditional meal of the Ewe, is made with corn flour and can be eaten with pepper sauces, stews or any soup. It is typically served with okra soup (fetridetsi) or herring stew (abɔbitadi). The typical Akple dish is prepared with corn dough to give it that rough and rigid form, while others add  some amount of Cassava dough to make it taste like banku. This dish doesn’t not specifically pertain any of the Traditional Festivals celebrated by the people of volta region and its surroundings, nevertheless it still prepared and serve as a celebrator meal for the festive season.

Tuo Zaafi

The food of northern Ghana is dominated by the use of grains, herbs, and meat, as these are the primary food products of the region. Tuo Zaafi is similar to banku, although it is quite soft and less sticky. Tuo means stirred, and zaafi means hot. What sets Tuo Zaafi apart and makes it a popular meal across the country are the nutritious and rare herbs used in making the accompanying soup, including the dawadawa and ayoyo leaves. Ayoyo leaves also called, Corchorus is a genus of phanerogams with 180 species belonging to the Malvaceae family.

It is native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world. In Ghana, it is known as Ayoyo and is used to prepare the accompanying sauce of this amazing dish. This dish also doesn’t not specifically pertain any of the Traditional Festivals celebrated by the people of the Northern Region and its surroundings, however, it prepared and served as a celebrator meal for the festive season.

Ghana has lots of food that means a lot to the people that eat it, but the above mentioned are the popular ones.

Click to read more about Local Dishes in Ghana

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