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Takoradi’s Ankos tops all tourism events in Ghana; making Taadi the best destination for Christmas in Ghana

Over the years, Ghana has been touted as the “Gateway to Africa” owing to her historical significance and arguably cementing her place as a tourism destination in Africa.

The year of return which commemorated 400 years beyond the slave trade, saw an influx of 1, 130, 307 tourists who explored the remnants of Gold Coast and contemporary Ghana.

The number of tourists has still been encouraging beyond the return as 914, 892 tourists were recorded in 2022 partly due to tourism policy initiatives like Beyond the Return and December in Ghana by the government.

The question then is, where is the final destination of tourists in Ghana especially during the yuletide?

Visiting the forts, museums, and lighthouse in Accra, to the historic Cape Coast castle and enjoying the breathtaking scenes of the Boti falls, Umbrella Rock, and the rest, tourists, expatriates and Ghanaians alike pinn their final destination in Takoradi to celebrate the Ankos Festival.

The Oil City of Ghana, Takoradi, has undoubtedly become the final destination of tourists due to the beautiful masquerade carnival which in known as the Ankos.

It is not a traditional festival but one where a handful of masquerade groups converge to display their colorful costumes and footwork dances. What began as a single masquerade group has birthed many groups like Supreme, Addy Zee, Empire, USA, State Masquerade Society ( SMS), Cosmos, Yankee, etc.

The various masquerade groups have large memberships spanning thousands which doesn’t exclude children. The Ankos festival epitomizes the concept of culture being learned as children as young as 4 join the procession and exhibit an energetic footwork dance known as “Atwim”.

Western Regional Minister on the dance floor

The Masquerade groups juggle colors in their costumes creating designs that differ from the other groups. At a glance you might see costumes stitched with different colors but a closer look tells the difference in style of each group.

An important element of this festival is the music that accompanies the Atwim dance. “Atwim” is sourced from a fantasy word which means stretching your body parts. The dance is very energetic as footwork dominate and other parts of the body moves along to the rhythms of brass band.

Every masquerade group has a brass band that plays music where they sing and dance along. Interestingly every music strikes a dance cord hence they deem the dance to be a language spoken with tunes of the brass band.

The festival is celebrated on the 25th and 26th December annually where the masquerade groups proceed through the streets of Takoradi and converge to show off their costumes and dance skills.

Most of the masqueraders go unmasked with a few wearing masks which implies the transition from being an activity people shy from to an inclusive and cultural display where high earners, middle class, and the low earners don the same costume.

During the 25th and the 26th, economic activities invariably shoot up with high demand on hospitality facilities making hotels run out of rooms and commercial drivers cashing out beyond their normal sales.

The festival is climaxed with a competition among the masquerade groups organized by the Western Region Minister, Kobby Okyere Darko Mensah. At the Tadi Fest event, the various groups jam to the brass band and inform the audience about their core values and projects beyond masquerading.

Remember that the last bus that leaves Tadi leaves with the imprint of joy and excitement as the Ankos festival is real value for tourists’ money

Below is a review by Ghanaian Blogger, Nene Odompleh who was in Takoradi for the festival

Nene Odompleh
Nene Odomplehhttp://www.the1957news.com
The founder of the1957News, a Ghanaian news and entertainment website. He has years of experience in online publishing and content creation and has built a successful online news agency through apt content coverage, timely reporting, and attention to accuracy.
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