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Akan Calendar Sacred Days

On the Akan Calendar are found four special days, collectively called dabɔne, bone evil, sacred days; Fɔdwo, Awukudae, Fofie and Akwasidae.

Four Akan Dabɔne Sacred Days

The composition of the Akan adaduanan calendar cycle is based on an older six-day week.

The days of the six-day week are:
1. Fo - Council day
2. Nwuna- Sleep or death day
3. Nkyi - Taboo day
4. Kuru -Political day
5. Kwa –Rest day
6. Mono - Fresh start day

The Akan calendar is based on what the Akan call forty days, adaduanan; da - day, aduanan - forty. Within the Adaduanan 42-day cycle of the Akan Calendar are found four special days, collectively called dabɔne (bone evil) sacred days; Fɔdwo, Awukudae, Fofie and Akwasidae.
Two of these evil days are collectively called adae. The other two of those evil days are Fodwo and Fofi. The 42-day cycle begin on Fɔdwo and the other three dabɔne follow in nine-day intervals; Awukudae on the tenth day, Fofie on the nineteenth day, and Akwasidae on the twenty-eighth day. It takes a further 14 days to complete the Adaduanan.
No farming may be carried out on any dabɔne but hunting and gathering of food and firewood is permitted. 
No funerals may be held and no news of death may reach the ears of a chief and the living shrine of his ancestors while libations of alcohol and offerings of food are made to the blackened stools the permanent physical shrines of those ancestors on an adae days.
Fɔdwo and Fofi days are associated with medico-religious symbols or purification and the intervention of anthropomorphic spirits inhabiting natural objects.
Akan African Art Memorial Head
Akan African Art Memorial Head 

About Akan People Past and Present

Most Akan peoples live in Ghana others dwell the eastern part of Côte d’Ivoire and parts of Togo. The Akan are divided into the Asante, Fante, Akwapim, Akyem, Akwamu, Ahanta, Bono, Nzema, Kwahu, and Safwi.
The region of modern Ghana has been inhabited for several thousand years, but little is known of Ghana's early inhabitants before the sixteenth century. By then, however, the major population groups were on the scene and in their present locales. More than 100 separate ethnic groups are found in Ghana today, a number of which are immigrant groups from neighboring countries.

One of the most important is the Akan, who live in the coastal savannah and forest zones of southern Ghana. The Akan were living in well-defined states by the early sixteenth century at the latest. By the end of that century, the states of Mamprusi, Dagomba, and Gonja had come into being among the Mole-Dagbane peoples of northern Ghana. 

These peoples and states were significantly influenced by Mande-speaking peoples from the north and the northeast. In the extreme north of present-day Ghana are a number of peoples who did not form states in pre-colonial times. These peoples, such as the Sisala, Kasena, and Talensi, are organized into clans and look to the heads of their clans for leadership.

Akan religion comprises the traditional beliefs and religious practices of the Akan people of Ghana and eastern Ivory Coast. Akan religion is referred to as Akom from the Twi word akom, meaning prophecy. Although most Akan people have identified as Christians since the early 20th century, Akan religion remains practiced by some and is often practiced side by side with Christianity.

The best-known of the indigenous states of Ghana is without doubt Asante, a term that applies to both people and state. Beginning in the mid-seventeenth century, this Akan-based society began to expand from the area around Kumasi, its capital, allying with or subduing neighboring Akan states such as Denkyira and Akwapim. 

Eventually, Asante incorporated non-Akan peoples and kingdoms, including Gonja, Dagomba, and Mamprusi, into an empire that encompassed much of modern Ghana and parts of neighboring Cote d'Ivoire. Along with a net- work of roads radiating from Kumasi flowed communications, tribute, and, above all, gold, over which the Asante held a monopoly.

The growth of trade stimulated the development of early Akan states located on the trade route to the goldfields in the forest zone of the south. The forest itself was thinly populated, but Akan-speaking peoples began to move into it toward the end of the fifteenth century with the arrival of crops from Southeast Asia and the New World that could be adapted to forest conditions. 

These new crops included sorghum, bananas, and cassava. By the beginning of the sixteenth century, European sources noted the existence of the gold-rich states of Akan and Twifu in the Ofin River Valley. 

The Portuguese were the first to arrive. By 1471, under the patronage of Prince Henry the Navigator, they had reached the area that was to become known as the Gold Coast. Europeans knew the area as the source of gold that reached Muslim North Africa by way of trade routes across the Sahara

The initial Portuguese interest in trading for gold, ivory, and pepper increased so much that in 1482 the Portuguese built their first permanent trading post on the western coast of present-day Ghana.

With the opening of European plantations in the New World during the 1500s, which suddenly expanded the demand for slaves in the Americas, slaves soon overshadowed gold as the principal export of the area. 

Indeed, the west coast of Africa became the principal source of slaves for the New World. The seemingly insatiable market and the substantial profits to be gained from the slave trade attracted adventurers from all over Europe. Much of the conflict that arose among European groups on the coast and among competing African kingdoms was the result of rivalry for control of this trade.

During most of the nineteenth century, Asante, the most powerful state of the Akan interior, sought to expand its rule and to promote and protect its trade. The first Asante invasion of the coastal regions took place in 1807; the Asante moved south again in 1811 and in 1814. 

These invasions, though not decisive, disrupted trade in such products as gold, timber, and palm oil, and threatened the security of the European forts. Local British, Dutch, and Danish authorities were all forced to come to terms with Asante, and in 1817 the African Company of Merchants signed a treaty of friendship that recognized Asante claims to sovereignty over large areas of the coast and its peoples.

The Akan word for the ruler is Nana. The roots of Akan chieftaincy are unknown.

Written sources are scarce in regards to the roots of Akan chieftaincy. When the Akan were settling in the Tekyiman Region, in the period before 1300, they had already long used the chieftaincy system. 

The paramount chief held a position that can be compared to that of an absolutist king. When the Republic of Ghana was founded in 1957, it was agreed that the chieftaincy system should be respected.

A chief arbitrates and decides political and economic questions in his area. When he is installed, he receives a stool name. 

Usually, all chiefs who belong to a reigning lineage have the same name, an ordinal name being added to distinguish between all of them, the seventeen names are below.


The English translation of the title Omanhene is King. In rare cases, Queens themselves would-be kings, a prime example being Okyenhene Nana Afia Dokuaa. This and the position of Obaapanin or Queen are the only ones that are obtained through descent from the ruling clan.


The Krontihene is caretaker of the land and second-in-command after the Omanhene.


Ankobea means one who stays at home or does not go anywhere. The Ankobeahene is the caretaker of the palace.


Obaatan means parent and is a female role. Her symbol is the egg, out of which all other chiefs came. She is Omanhene's counselor. When Omanhene's stool is vacant, Obaatan suggests the next incumbent. She is expected to consider all factors such as the character of the available candidates, their royal descent and their contribution to the royal family. Mostly the lineage and order of birth are given paramount consideration in the selection process. Although found in other traditions, the position of Obaatan does not fit into the Akan chieftaincy structure proper. The one who suggests and nominates the Omanhene amongst the Akans in the Obaahemaa or Queen mother.


The warlord is the head of all the Asafo companies or head of the gunners. Tufohene translates loosely in Akan as the chief of the gunners.


The Asafohene is the head of a single Asafo company.


The head of the interior.


The head of the treasury.


There are four positions describing military flanks. The Adontehene is the one who goes in front of the army.


The Nkyidom is in the last position. He collects the soldiers who are left behind and sends them back to the army. During Odambea, the Nkyidom always sits in the last wheelless vehicle called a palanquin.


The Nifahene holds the right flank of the army's formation.


The Benkumhene holds the left flank of the army's formation also in modern governance known as the left-wing.


If there is anything to distribute or to share, the Akyempimhene or vice-king has to do it. He is the first son of the king. He also protects the king, his father, with each king deciding whether to give the title to his literal son or to a close favorite. He also enjoys the authority of arriving in a palanquin after the Asantehene is seated; he alone has that authority to do so. He is also the head of all the Kumasi royals. Otumfuo Opoku Ware Katakyie created this title. Usually, the first sons of the kings are the ones that ascend this stool. He is also the head of the Kyidom clan Fekuo. It should be noted here that due to the matrilineal system of inheritance, sons do not automatically succeed their fathers as kings. Kings are by and large selected from among the sons of the deceased king's close female relations. This title is, therefore, a convenient means of ennobling a king's son without upsetting the royal succession.


The Mankrado's function is purification. He puts leaves into the water, then sprinkles it over the Omanhene. He also always has salt in his pocket so that he can make things taste better for the Omanhene.


The title of the Guantuahene is a comparatively recent innovation. The Guantoahene is the one to whom people can turn for shelter and mercy.


The Nsumankwahene watches the oracle. This title is also a relatively recent creation. The Nsumankwahene is the spiritual head of the community/communities. In the past, it was the chief priest who performed this role.


The Nkosuohene is responsible for the development of the region. The title is a new one and was adopted from the Ashanti, who had made it up earlier. This title was created to honor someone who does not have to be a member of a royal family. There are some foreigners who have been honored with this title. It was created to appreciate the contribution of non-royals.

Akan African tribe in 1930
Akan African tribe in 1930

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