The Manhyia Palace in Kumasi was the scene of picturesque dance displays by hundreds of traditional priests and priestesses, who performed what is traditionally known as “Atano Dance”.
The event heralded the activities to mark the 20th Anniversary celebration of the enthronement of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene.
The forecourt of Manhyia, the seat of the Asantehene, occupant of the Golden Stool, saw the traditional priests performing the traditional dance to invoke the spirits of the gods to protect the Asante Kingdom and its occupants from any predicament and secure a better future for the people.
Some of the priests, clad in white cloth from the waists to the knee, had their faces and bare torso painted with white talcum with amulets around their waists, whiles others wore talisman-etched traditional smocks.
Spinning in artistic dance movements to the rhythms of traditional drums, they showcased their supernatural powers with the slaughter of rams to pacify the gods.
As at 1100 hours last Wednesday, the entire forecourt of the Manhyia Palace was covered with a sea of people from all walks of life, who wished to satisfy their curiosity by witnessing the traditional performances and demonstrations, a beautiful portrayal of the rich Asante culture and tradition.
The priests frolicked during the traditional dances and, some of them who looked possessed by their deities, occasionally conjured money and other items like eggs, which some people in the crowd scrambled to catch.
From their body movements, priests and priestesses seemed to be competing among themselves since they tried to display various skills and powers, to demonstrate their supremacy.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II ascended the Golden Stool in 1999 after succeeding his late brother, Otumfuo Opoku Ware II.
Since his enthronement he has blended tradition with modernity to uplift the image of the chieftaincy institution of Asanteman.