Edina Bronya is a festival celebrated by the people and chiefs of Elmina in the Central Region of Ghana. It is a native version of the Christmas festival. It is celebrated on the first Thursday of January of the new year. It coincides with the Dutch celebration of the festival, it also signifies the bond between the Elmina people and the Dutch.
'Bronya' is the Twi word for Christmas, so Edina Bronya in a literal sense means Christmas in Cape Coast.
After the defeat of the Portuguese by the Dutch in 1627 and the control of exchanging and trading activities in Elmina, the Dutch presented a new type of “Bronya” (Christmas) to the people of Elmina. This celebration is ‘Edina Bronya’, which means Elmina Christmas.
This Christmas festivity was introduced during the Dutch period. The festival coincides with the Dutch Festival, which falls on the first Thursday of January consistently and marked in Elmina to commemorate the relationship between the Dutch and individuals in Elmina.
Families get together and welcome friends to celebrate with eating and joyful atmosphere throughout the town.
Just before the celebration, the Paramount Chief climbs the Fort St. Jago and shoots the traditional gun at midnight to usher him and his people into the New Year. The following day, the Paramount Chief rides in a palanquin (a traveling means for traditional rulers, where an enormous seat is carried on two even shafts by four or six conveyors) to honor the different tribes.
The peak of the celebration is the point at which the Paramount Chief and elders meet in front of Elmina Castle, where a sacrifice ritual is performed. The celebration closes with joy making, drumming, and dancing throughout the night.
Whenever you are around the Cape Coast during January, make sure you ask where the durbar ground is, and you will have an unforgettable experience.