Is there Thanksgiving in Africa?

I am re-posting this blog that I wrote last year about Thanksgiving in Africa. That way you if you haven’t seen it you can find some exciting ways to celebrate Thanksgiving with an African twist!

With Halloween now over and Thanksgiving on the way, you may be wondering if there’s any way to add some African culture to your Thanksgiving celebration. The good news is, there is! A Thanksgiving, or harvest festival, is celebrated in many countries throughout Africa. The difference is that it is usually celebrated in the month of August marking the end of the rainy season.

African harvest festivals have a lot of religious significance. They are characterized by lots of dancing and singing. Dancers wear traditional masks and outfits. A popular dance sequence involves a good ghost who looks after their crops and scares away the bad ghosts who try to spoil the food.

Festival of Yams is a popular harvest festival celebrated with days of ceremonies and offerings to God and ancestors. Yams are the first crops to be harvested. People offer yams to the gods and ancestors first before they distribute them to the rest of the village.

The Homowo Festival of Africa, is a celebration of a traditional harvest festival from the Ga people of Ghana, West Africa, it is the largest cultural festival of its kind. For the Ga people, the word Homowo means “hooting at hunger.”

The origin of Homowo is tied to the roots of the Ga people and their migration to Ghana. The Ga traveled for many years before reaching the west coast of Africa where they now live. Along the way they experienced famine, but through helping each other, they survived. Later when their harvests were plentiful, they held a feast at which they jeered and laughed at the hunger and hard times that had plagued them. This was the first Homowo.

The Homowo Festival begins with a traditional Ghanaian procession in which people assume the roles of kings, queens and followers of the royal family of each of Ghana’s ethnic groups.

In some African cultures they hold a ceremony called “first fruits” that takes several days of planning in order to bless the newly harvested crops and purify the people before they eat the foods.

I will be giving you updates as the Thanksgiving holiday comes closer, with some exciting ways to celebrate Thanksgiving with a taste of Africa. Also, keep checking back for African Thanksgiving recipes. Make Thanksgiving of ‘09 one to remember!

Want to take a look at some African recipe ideas? Click Here. Keep in mind this page will be updated with more African recipes as Thanksgiving gets closer.

Want to find traditional African clothing or African masks like the ones used in African harvest festivals? Just go to the Africa Imports web site at www.africaimports.com

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