The festival, also known as Hogbeza, which commemorates the legendary exodus of the Ewe-Dogbo folks from Notsie in present-day neighbouring Togo, was first suspended in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
In a release dated Thursday, October 21 by Togbi Zewu IV, Chairman of the Committee, the 2021 Hogbetsotsoza was suspended after consultations with Togbi Sri III, the Awoamefia of Anlo State and Togbi Agbesi Awusu II, the Awadada of Anlo and other elders.
The release said the decision was to comply with the COVID-19 protocols aimed at preventing the spread of the virus, considering the thousands of people who would throng Anloga, the traditional capital of the Anlo State for the grand durbar.
Togbi Zewu said the Committee regretted the inconveniences the suspension of the 2021 Hogbetsotsoza would cause and hoped that it would bounce back next year.
“The Local Planning Committee has taken note of the current pandemic situation and its underlying strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols. It, will, therefore, be most difficult to check attendees during the festival, especially during the durbar day when thousands of revellers and tourists are expected to congregate at one place at Anloga.
Hopefully, the festival will bounce back in a special form next year (2022). All inconveniences are deeply regretted.”
Hogbeza is celebrated every first Saturday in November at Anloga with some activities and ceremonies including reconciliation, cleansing, enactment of the departure and escape, mini Hogbe and mini durbar of schools preceding the main durbar.
The celebration is usually characterised by a display of rich tradition and culture with people treated to a variety of drumming and dancing, including the ever-popular “agbadza”, “atsia” and “misego” or “husego”, the incorporated dance style of the backward movement of the people during their exodus from Notsie.