Thousands brace heavy rains for record breaking Asogli yam carnival
The procession, held at sundown, is the main attraction for the fertility rites of the popular traditional area’s annual yam festival, and marks the maturity of the root tuber, which is a national staple.
Traditional prayers and sacrifices were made at various shrines before a convergence at the Ho RTC Park for the start of the procession, led by chiefs and traditional warriors bearing tubers of the new yam.
This year marks the 20th Anniversary of Togbe Afede XIV, the Agbogbomefia of Asogli State, and many anticipated rains during the procession- a phenomenon that was believed to symbolise the wholesomeness of the prayers and sacrifices.
People began pouring out onto the streets of the Volta regional capital at about 1400 hours, as many abandoned social and commercial activities to join what is called the Asogli Carnival.
Traffic disruption marked the advance of the party, and people lined up to catch the moment with electronic devices, sharing the scenes around the world while hordes of photographers and media personnel documented the spectacle.
The yam hailing had received heavy publicity and several tours to the Region had been curated to enable patronage, causing a heavy influx of both natives and non-natives, and which gave this year a record attendance.
Rain clouds had formed hours ahead of the event, and the showers that came with the start of the march at around 1630 hours were received with wild jubilation.
Almost everyone had a polythene bag handy and would wrap in their phones and other water damageable devices, as the showers transitioned into rain.
The various divisions of Asogli in their processions were soaked in the heavy downpour that held until nightfall, as the unending crowd made their way slowly to the Mawuko girls school park where it would end.
There were vans blasting loud music and youths on roller skates waving flags of the Asogli State swept ahead, while others scaled buildings, cramped porches and crowded balconies, to view the historic attendance.
Mr Stephen Tetteh, the Asogli State Secretary, told the GNA at the peak of the carnival that its impression on the rest of festivities was refreshing.
“We have all seen how people came out. This is only the beginning, and what is coming is bigger,” he remarked.
The Secretary said the anticipation around the festival and the support for the anniversary celebration of the Agbogbomefia was touching.
He said the event had been planned to deliver a befitting honour, and urged all to help ensure peace and security throughout the celebration.
Togbe Kasa III, Dufia of Ho Ahoe, led the chiefs to commend all particularly the youth, for a peaceful, incident free hailing, and entreated all to extend warm hospitality to the countless visitors and tourists and maintain vigilance to help weed out shady characters.
He said a feast on the new yam would follow with Togbe Afede dining with other traditional leaders and elders at the Asogli Palace.
This year’s yam festival and instalment anniversary is on the theme: “20 Years of Selfless and Inspiring Leadership,” and an anti-corruption day celebration, a youth forum, and a summit of Ewe traditional leaders in West Africa, forms part of the lineup of activities.
There are tennis tournaments, a marathon, and almost all pubs in the municipality are lit with loud music and endless revelry.
Togbe Afede is expected to launch an aviation training academy and a humanitarian foundation to mark the celebration.