The celebration of Easter in Ghana is characterized by a variety of activities and events with a mix of the joyous, the sacred and the mundane.
Easter is one of the most anticipated seasons on the Ghanaian holiday calendar. It is celebrated just like in the rest of the Christian world with most churches in Ghana holding Easter conventions throughout the Holy Week. Our Accra-based colleague Karen tells us: “On Easter Sunday we have many outdoor processions where Ghanaians are rejoicing, drumming and dancing while they march through the streets. The season is at its peak on Easter Monday with picnics and games.”
Easter Monday, as well as Easter Friday, are statutory public holidays in Ghana with most Ghanaians going to the country’s beaches to bathe in the sunlight, wiggle their toes in the sand and spend some quality time with their loved ones. On those days most of Ghana’s beautiful public beaches are dotted with colorful parasols, loungers and hundreds of people.
But Easter in Ghana is not only about enjoying waves and having a good time. A primary part of the Easter narrative is giving and sharing. During this season many individuals, corporate institutions and churches hold soup kitchens and organize parties for the underprivileged and vulnerable. Since Easter is about Jesus Christ sacrificing himself to redeem the sins of humankind, for many Ghanaians it is important to also give some of their time and belongings for others in need, especially during this period of the year.
Another Easter tradition in Ghana is the paragliding festival that is held at the Kwahu, in the Eastern Region. The festival has gained much popularity over the years and the term “Kwahu oo Kwahu’’ now serves as an advertising slogan for many media houses and brands during the season.
During these festivities, seasoned pilots come from many parts of the world to fly thrill-seeking locals as well as foreign visitors across the beautiful landscape of the Kwahu Mountains. But not everyone there is looking for adventures. Others just come to the region to unwind, get some fresh mountain air and relax a little after a stressful first quarter of the year.
Due to the current pandemic, however, neither adventurers nor relaxation-seekers are likely to be able to travel. Just recently, Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo personally asked his people to stay home, as he himself will do this year.
Nevertheless, this Easter can also be a time to make fond memories and get some peace of mind. It will be celebrated in Ghana with much joy – only this year in a small circle of friends or family at home.