The Socio-Economic Benefits Derived from Festivals. a Case Study of Asogli Yam Festival in Ghana

By Selase, Gbadegbe Richard | Researchers World, October 2013 | Go to article overview

The Socio-Economic Benefits Derived from Festivals. a Case Study of Asogli Yam Festival in Ghana


Selase, Gbadegbe Richard, Researchers World


ABSTRACT

In this study, an attempt was made to evaluate the socio-economic prospects of the Asogli traditional festival (a festival celebrated in the Volta region of Ghana). A multi approach data collection technique was employed which included participant observation (30), interviews (32) and administration of questionnaires (560). The results indicated that 500 respondents representing 89.2% of the accessible population accept that the celebration of the festival possesses some social, cultural and economic values. Furthermore, the main finding of the study is that, the festival creates a platform for social cohesion and the launch of developmental projects such as school buildings, toilet facilities, road construction and good drinking water. This study also revealed that farmers derive a lot of economic benefits from the sale of yam which is the staple crop on which the celebration is founded. Additionally, art and craft dealers, food vendors and the hospitality industry benefit greatly from the sales of their products and services. It is hoped that this study will serve as an eye-opener for more researches to be conducted into our culture.

Keywords: Socio-economic, Asogli, traditional festival, cultural, art and craft.

INTRODUCTION:

The economic development of a nation is a matter of great concern to its citizens. Various economic policies are adopted by governments to change the financial woes of the people for the better. Mention can be made of financial bodies such as the IMF, the World Bank and the HIPC economic policy. Ghana nonetheless has also sought for various economic aids from these financial institutions. However, little has been done by past governments and the present one to explore other avenues such as our rich cultural heritage. The cultural traditions of Ghana are effective tools for national development. Culture expressed in the form of festivals as in the Asogli Yam festival possesses rich economic values worth promoting.

S.K. Gadzekpo (1978) admits that, festivals are seasons of gainful economic activities for local craftsmen and food sellers. He further states that, festivals promote tourism; as foreigners come to catch a glimpse of the artistic development and the rich culture of the society. According to him, they purchase some of these things, giving the dual advantage of income for the society and the boosting of the African's image abroad. His explanation points out the economic benefits that a society stands to derive from the celebration of festivals. Chachah (1990) also talks about the religious and social aspects of festivals he states that, festivals provide occasions for social re-union among Ghanaians. He further states that relatives and friends see each other again during festivals, also, gifts and drinks are exchanged, disputes settled and an atmosphere of mutual co-operation established. Another writer: Attah-Fosu (2001) in writing about the economic importance of festivals describes festivals as ceremonies which bring most of the citizens of a society together. This, according to his submission helps them to initiate development projects and to contribute financially towards these projects. Visitors who also come to witness the festival contribute economically to the locality. It is evident from the above submissions that festivals are not mere joyous occasions but they are occasions for social re-union and economic advancement.

This study is therefore aimed at exposing the socio-economic prospects of the Asogli Yam festival in Ghana to the outside world.

LITERATURE REVIEW:

Festivals are manifestations of the practices and beliefs of a people. They are promoters of culture and builders of one's identity. Festivals perform many functions in the society. They serve as a means of commemorating and remembering important events in the history of a people. In the process, they perform other functions, both intended and unintended. As they involve re-creation of the past, they provide occasions for transmission of traditional cultures and values from one generation to the other. …

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