Significance of the Costume Used for the Dia War Dance by the Frafra people of the Upper East Region of Ghana.

Daniel Akuoko Adjei, Frank Osei-Sarfo


There are several war dances which are performed to commemorate victories achieved during wars and major fights in history. These dances mimic historical moves and gestures which were used during such trial times. During the performance of such dances, many items of clothing are worn by these war heroes or dancers which are an embodiment of knowledge and the Dia war dance of the Frafra people in the Upper East region of Ghana is no exception. However, when these dances are recorded, little or nothing is said about the costumes and their relevance to the attainment of victory in these wars and hence their inclusion in the dance. The study therefore is aimed at identifying the various roles played by these items used as clothing in the Dia war dance of the Frafra people in the Upper East Region of Ghana. Participant observation was used in this study and the main instrument adopted was the interview in arriving at the responses.  Several key people were interviewed including Tindaanas (earth priests), retired dancers, adult and young dancers. The study saw that the clothing items used have great link with the craft and trade practices of the people. It also identified that some of the items were used to boost about ones bravery or victories over animals considered to be wild and dangerous. Also it was evident that though no formal schools are there to train people In the dance, there is the conscious effort by the people to train the young in the dance so that they can take up the mantle of leadership in the future. The study therefore recommends that the dance be celebrated at the regional level in order to raise the awareness and boost the tourism potentials of the region.

Keywords: Dia War dance, costume, culture, festival, traditional apparel, horns, smock, Frafra.

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