The Hogbetsotso festival is celebrated by the chiefs and people of Anloga in the Volta region of Ghana. The festival is celebrated annually on the first Saturday in the month of November. The name of the festival is derived from the Ewe language and translates as, the festival of exodus. or “coming from Hogbe (Notsie)”. The celebration of the festival was instituted about four decades ago.

The Agbadza is the traditional dance of the people of Anlo which is performed vigorously during the grand durbar of the Hogbetsotso festival. Agbadza can be performed anywhere, at parties, funerals and at naming ceremonies. In this modern age anyone from any tribe can perform the agbadza dance regardless.

Various ceremonies are held during the festival. They include a peace-making period in which all disputes are ended with the finding of amicable solution. It is believed that the reason for this traditional period of peace making is that the people believe their ancestors lived in harmony with themselves all through their escape from Notsie and that it was this character that made their sojourn a success. There is also a purification ceremony of the ceremonial stools (where the Ewe believe the ancestral spirits reside) through the pouring of libations. This is followed by general cleaning where all the villages are swept and rubbish burnt.

This cleaning ceremony starts at the Volta Estuary and ends after several days at the Mono River in the Republic of Benin. The climax of the festival involves a durbar of the chiefs and peoples of Anlo. The chiefs dress in colourful regalia and receive homage from their subjects at the durbar grounds. Various forms of dancing, singing and merry-making characterize the entire festival.


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