Traditions are what bring people together. They are the shared practices and values that define a community. Food, language, music, art and religion are some of the ways that people keep their shared identities alive and pass them on to the next generation.
The people of Dagbamete are proud of their traditions, and they are passionate about keeping them alive. It is because of that passion that visitors from all over Ghana and all over the world come -- to experience the musical and dance traditions, the spiritual traditions, and the healing traditions.
Under the inspired leadership of the Chief, the Queen Mother, and the Elders, the village continues to develop socially while preserving the traditions that have kept the village strong for over 200 years.
|Symbol of the Stool House of Dagabmete
In West Africa the village stool has enormous significance for each community. Much like a throne in Western monarchies, the stool represents an ancestral powerbase reaching back through the generations to when the stool was won in war. A community cannot have a chief if it doesn't have a stool. The stool thus serves as the vital basis for the chieftancy.
In the Ewe culture, the stool is traditionally black in colour, and it is never seen in public. It is kept in a special building called the stool house that protects the stool from enemies. Rituals are performed by the Chief and the elders inside. When a new chief is installed there are special rituals that must be performed.
One ritual that is performed annually is Toryiyi, the ritual cleansing or purification of the stool. In Dagbamete, Toryiyi is performed during the Mid Year festival in October. The stool is taken in a procession to a river about two hours by foot for the cleansing and then it is returned to the stool house and secret rituals are performed. Below is a video showing excerpts from a Toryiyi ritual performed in 2013.
|Toryiyi, the ritual to cleanse the stool, performed in October-Novermber 2013.
The Installation of the Queen Mother
The Queen Mother is of great importance to the village. She is the leader of the women and is involved in resolving disputes, making sure the women carry out their communal responsibilities, promoting education among girls, and ensuring that women's voices are heard. The office of Queen Mother is a lifetime appointment and when she dies she is replaced by a young woman selected by the chiefs and the elders and installed in a special ceremony. Below is a video showing excerpts of the installation of the current Queen Mother in October 2013.
|The installation of the Queen Mother, Mama Adzorhlor III, in October 2013.