The Igbo tribesmen from Nigeria residing in Ghana have hosted the 2023 edition of its grand New Yam Festival.
The event also marked the 11th anniversary since the establishment of the Igbo royal seat in Ghana.
The traditional ceremony celebrated at Accra's Efua Sutherland Children’s Park on Sunday, September 17, showcased the richness of African culture. It was under the theme, “Sustaining the Culture and Tradition of Igbo people in the Diaspora.”
Distinguished monarchs from the Igbo tribe and invited Ghanaian tribes graced the vibrant event.
Accompanied by their traditional entourages and garbed in eye-catching regalia, the arrival of these rulers was a spectacle, amplified by loud cheering, drumming, dancing, musketry, and ceremonial gun firing, among others.
The host King, His Royal Majesty Dr. Ambassador Chukwudi Ihenetu Eze Ohazurume I, the paramount King of the Igbo diaspora in Ghana, inaugurated the celebration with his wife, HRM. Queen Ugoeze Liberty Ihenetu Nana Ekua Tsetsewa I.
In his opening address, the king highlighted that the New Yam Festival signifies the commencement of the yam harvest and a time for giving thanks to God for life and plentiful harvest.
He emphasized the festival's importance in preserving cultural values among the youth and fostering pan-African unity, particularly between Nigeria and Ghana.
Representing the Igbo community in Ghana for a goodwill message, Chief Anyaogwu stated his belief that the festival would continue to promote peace and security.
He also advised Nigerians living in Ghana to be law-abiding and respect Ghanaian laws.
The event featured various performances, including a masquerade parade, women's group displays, and a royal handshake with the king.
Notable individuals, both Igbos and non-Igbos, received chieftaincy titles for their societal contributions.
Among them was renowned Ghanaian broadcaster Blessed Godsbrain Smart, known well as Captain Smart, who was awarded the title of “Okwuruora” or “mouthpiece of the people” for his advocacy work.
A significant part of the ceremony was the cutting of the yam - marking the official start of the new yam season.
The paramount King emphasized the essence of the festival and expressed his hope that the event would foster peace and unity among Igbos and non-Igbos in the country.
A short drama displaying farmers discovering their matured yam crops and celebrating the harvest provided insight into how the festival was celebrated in the past.
Prominent attendees at the event besides the chiefs included the National Chief Imam Sheik Osmanu Nuhu Shaributu, CEO of Kantanka group, Kwadwo Safo Kantanka Junior, Kofi Akpaloo, founder of the Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG), and former Minister of Youths and Sports, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah.
The festival, integral to the Igbo community, is an annual event held to thank God for an abundant yam harvest.
Per research, it is considered taboo in the Igbo community to taste the new yam before the festival.