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Hogbetsotso, a cultural heritage of the Anlo State.

Hogbetsotso is an annual traditional festival celebrated by the Chiefs and people of Anlo, a sub-group of Ewes in the Volta Region on the first week of November. Some major towns include Anloga which is the capital of the Anlo states, Keta, Kedzi, Vodza, Tsito, Afiadenyigba, Abor, Alakple etc.

The term 'Hogbetsotso' according to historians is a word derived from three Ewe words - Ho meaning to uproot, Gbe meaning 'day' and Tsotso, meaning crossing over. Literally, Hogbetsotso means the day the Ewe people escaped from Notsie, from their cruel overlord Togbe Agorkoli.

According to Oral Tradition, folktales, legend and music forms of the Ewes, along their migration routes and their settlement in Notsie present-day Togo, they became subjects of a tyrannical leader, Torgbe Agorkoli who maltreated them and built a wall around them to prevent them from escaping. In order to escape, they instructed their women to pour all their wastewater at a particular spot of the muddy wall that surrounded them. Over time the spot became soft thus allowing them to break through and escape. To avoid being traced and found, the Ewe people escaped whiles walking back and separated.

Various ceremonies are held during the Hogbetsotso festival. It usually starts with peace-making in which all disputes are settled through amicable solutions. This peace-making ceremony is backed by the historical claims that their ancestors lived in peace, unity and harmony that they were able to overcome the challenges that confronted them during their migration route from Ketu through Notsie before finally settling in their present home Ghana.

One other major event during the week-long celebration of the coastal people of Volta Region is the purification ceremony through performing libations to purify the traditional stool and ask the gods and ancestors for protection and blessings on the townspeople. This is also followed by the general cleaning and burning of garbages in villages.

On the Saturday of the week, there is the reception of the Chiefs and their people in Anloga where the people pay homage to their Chiefs. The Chiefs and natives of Anloga dress in colourful ceremonial clothing displaying the rich culture of Anlo people. The entire festival is a period marked by singing, merry-makings and dancing to the Agbadza traditional dance whiles expressing their joy to their ancestors and gods.

The 2019 Hogbetsotso festival was attended by some dignataries and some political icons including the late Former President Jerry John Rawlings and John Dramani Mahama. The 2019 festival was with the theme "Uniting Anlo through its value for the benefits of it's citizens and the nation at large".

Content created and supplied by: Ghananews5 (via Opera News )

Anlo State Anloga Hogbetsotso Keta Volta Region

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