Client Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Categories Publications
Date 2019
URL Launch Project

Every summer, indigenous deities visit Ghana’s capital, Accra, for the Hɔmɔwɔ  festival. To create a peaceful environment for the guests, Ga indigenous priests introduce a one-month “ban on drumming and noise-making.” Almost overnight, sacred silence blankets the city as nightclubs and dance halls close down and Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches subdue their services. Although sonic negotiations have been amicable recently, in the 1990s Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches fervently resisted the pressure to suppress their worship. Such disobedience resulted in serious confrontations with the Ga “traditionalists” who argued that Christians angered and disrespected their deities. To ensure inter-religious peace in the capital, the Ghanaian state has been actively involved in the regulation of the ban for the past several years. Taking these events as a point of reference, this article analyzes the legal language employed in the negotiations and how it reflects distinct roles of Christianity and traditional religion in Ghana’s public domain.

“When the Deities Visit for Hɔmɔwɔ: Translating Religion in the Language of the Secular.” 2019. Journal of the American Academy of Religion 87(1): 191-224.