This year's Damba Festival has come off successfully at the Gbewaa Palace at Yendi and other parts of the Northern Region with an admonition on the people to embrace peace and unite to chart a new course to accelerate the development of the area.
The Regent of Dagbon, Kampakuya-Na Abdulai Yakubu Andani, in an interview with the Daily Graphic asked the celebrants not to use the occasion for only merry-making but to regard it as a time to reflect on the future of the area.
"We need to bury our differences and gird our loins to fight the existing poverty, disease and ignorance which are our common enemies in this area."
According to him, time-tested festivals such as the Damba should be used as a rallying point to bring everybody on board to chart a defining course for Dagbon. He described this year's celebration as successful, since, according to him, it attracted people from both factions of the Dagbon chieftaincy divide and sons and daughters from other regions in the country.
Similar festivities were observed at Damongo, Nalerigu and Bimbilla, where the paramount chiefs in those areas led their people to commemorate the event.
In Tamale, hundreds of jubilant celebrants could be found on the major streets. The festival also attracted people from all walks of life, including tourists.
Those who could not resist the euphoria generated by the occasion joined in the dancing and merrymaking.
Yesterday's ceremony, referred to as "Damba Belli Kulisi" (Farewell to Damba) was the climax of the week-long festival.
The revellers were adorned in their colourful smocks of varying sizes and shapes as they responded to the throbbing beats of the gong-gong. Various youth groups, including their beautifully dressed women, also paraded the streets singing and dancing.
The immaculately dressed sub-chiefs were the centre of attraction as they sat on their decorated horses and danced majestically to the beats of the "Lungsi" drummers amid the firing of musketry.
The joyous crowd accompanying the chiefs had to meander their way to the Dakpema's Palace for the durbar.
By 5:30 p.m., almost all the sub-chiefs, accompanied by their respective retinues and "warriors" from the suburbs, had gathered at the palace to demonstrate their rich culture.
The event, which is a blend of Islam and tradition, is celebrated by majority of the Muslim-dominated communities in the north, including Dagombas, Nanumbas, Gonjas and Mamprusis.
It is to mark the birth and subsequent naming of Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W), the Founder of Islam. The event is also used to offer sacrifices to show appreciation to Allah and chart a new course for the coming year.