This is the highlight of the ceremonial year among the Ashanti people in Ghana. Adae-Kese commemorates the day on which priest Okomfo Anokye called down from heaven the Ashantis’ Golden Stool. Elaborate stools are important fixtures in Ashanti culture. When someone passes away, that person’s stool is treasured by his or her survivors and honored periodically. The Golden Stool is that of King Osei Tutu, the founder of the Ashanti kingdom.
During the Adae-Kese festival, people clean their ancestral stools and offer food to the gods and ancestors. The current king and the Golden Stool sit in state, while people from the community and, often, the president of Ghana pay homage to him. All of this takes place in Kumasi, where the king’s palace is located. The museum there houses a second, copycat golden stool used to deceive the British, who demanded that the stool be turned over to them after hearing that it was the source of the Ashanti king’s powers.
The Adae festival is held every 40 days throughout the year, but the January celebration is the largest and most important.
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