The yam festival marks end of an abundant food-producing harvest. Africans have always had festivals at the time of harvest. In Ghana, the Yam Festival [Homowo] lasts for three days. The festival begins with cleansing ceremony to honour family members who have died. Farmers give thanks to the Gods who ensure a good harvest. Twins and triplets are honoured during this time as a special gift from God.
Yam is large root vegetable that looks like a tube. People often confuse yam with sweet potato. Yams grow in Africa while sweet potatoes grow in Asia. Yams can be stored for 2 months in dark, cool areas. Also, Yam can be dried and turned into flour for longer storage. Interestingly, Yams are also associated with Thanksgiving in the United States. While eating Yams during Thanksgiving feast, thank villagers of Ghana and Nigeria for producing them. People of Ghana and Nigeria also give thanks especially for this special food.
Yams are an important crop in Ghana. During Homowo, Yams are taken from underground and are carried to the villages. The yams are then blessed by the Chief. Special foods are made from these yams are served. Mashed yams with hard boiled eggs are an important part of this festival. People also eat Kpekpele, made with corn meal and palm oil.
During Homowo people wear kind of toga made from kente cloth which is brightly coloured. The festival ends with a big feast. People dance and sing to the sounds of drums. In Ghana, during child-birth, yam meal with other ingredients is prepared for relatives and midwife.