Dipo initiation, Krobo (Ghana)
Starts: Friday, 1 May, 2015 12:00am
Ends: Friday, 1 May, 2015 03:00am
Dipo festival is the greatest legacy of Krobo land. It is celebrated in the Eastern Region, located some 80 kilometers north of Accra. The festival is one of the most famous and important festivals in West Africa.
Dipo is a festival also known as Puberty rites. It is a celebration that initiates adolescent girls to womanhood. Girls, who go through this ritual successfully, become very good wives.
The mode of celebration is that adolescent girls are decorated in beautiful beads and half-clothed. The Dipo girls, traditionally called Dipo-yi are dressed in beautiful cloth only from the waist to the knee level. The upper part of the body is exposed and festooned with colorful and assorted beads. The exposure of their breasts for everyone to see signifies that they are getting into adulthood.
Two days are set aside for the festivities. These girls undergo a series of rituals, tests and tasks to prove their chastity and readiness for adult life. On the first day of the ceremony, the girls are paraded in public in their ceremonial dress and their heads are shaved leaving a small portion of hair on the head. A piece of raffia is tied around their neck to signify they are now Dipo-yi, undergoing initiation.
On the next morning, the girls are given a ritual bath in a river and then required to taste foods like sugar cane and peanuts.
The Krobo are very good at making Ghanaian beads and the festival therefore provides opportunity for them to exhibit their rich, authentic and beautifully handmade beads, which has come to be part of them, to the public.
Traditional glass beads of Ghana are often referred to as Krobo beads, the Krobo Mountains being the main area of production. The craftsmen have been producing each bead following the same long lasting traditional technique for centuries. Scrap glass is grounded into a fine powder. The glass powder is then meticulously made into patterns and placed into hand-made clay molds covered in kaolin. The beads are baked, then decorated, washed, and eventually strung.