Representing Northern Union in Chicago since 1960.
The Ghana Northern Union, unlike the other Ghanaian Associations in greater Chicago area, which are characteristically more homogeneous in nature, this group is quite heterogeneous: That is, we come from five different regions and of course, we have different cultures and beliefs; and we speak different languages; some of which are mutually unintelligible. But the good thing is that, in the United States we live in unity and prove the fact that unity in diversity is one of the richest ways of building our Union. Our unity has triumphed based on the existence of mutual love, harmony, and respect for one another, despite having differences in so many ways like religion, language, and culture.
The Ghana Northern Union was initially made up of three regions, namely Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions. But in December 2018, following a legislative instrument a referendum was voted upon to break Northern Ghana further into five regions. For that reason, the Union is now made up of five regions. A brief historical, linguistic, cultural and geographical perspective of the five regions that make up the Ghana Northern Union could be of great interest to Ghana Council of Chicago or to the curious reader.
- The Northern Region is one of the sixteen regions of Ghana. It is located in the north of the country and was the largest of the sixteen regions. The region’s capital is Tamale. Major languages spoken in the Northern Region are: Dagbanli, Nawuri, and Kokomba. Some tourist attractions in the region are: Naa Gbewaa Palace in Yendi, Saakpoli Slaves wells, Naa Binbegu Boabab Tree also in Yendi, Buntaga Irrigation Dam, Sabali (River Oti) and the Nawuni River (White Volta).
- The Savannah Region is one of the newest regions of Ghana and yet the largest region in the country. Damongo is the capital of the new Savannah Region. Major languages spoken in the Savannah Region are: Gonja, Kamara, Safalba, Hanga, and Templima. Places of interest that one can visit while in the Savannah Region are; Mole National Park, Bui National Park (but now defunct due to Bui National Dam), and the Larabanga Mystic Stone, located on the outskirts of Larabanga. The stone is known to return to its original place of rest after several attempts of moving it to a different location. In the 1950s, some British road constructors were compelled to redirect a major road after 3 attempts to remove the stone.
- The North East Region is located in the north of the country. The region’s capital is Nalerigu, and the major languages spoken in the North-East Region are: Mampruli, Chakosi/Anufo, Moar/Bimoba, and Moshi.
Tourism and attractions are also very accessible to anyone visiting the region. These are the White Volta and the Gambaga Escarpment, the Ancient rock art at Gingana, Kpatiritinga, Jilik, and Tusugu, the NaYiri Palace in Nalerigu, Na Jeringa historic slave wall in Nalerigu, Zayaa Mosque/Shrine in Wulugu, an Ancient Koma Figurines in Yikpabongo, and Buyuori Cave in Yikpabongo.
- The Upper East Region is located in the northern-eastern corner of Ghana, bordering Burkina Faso to the north and Togo to the east. The Upper East regional capital is Bolgatanga, sometimes referred to as Bolga. The major languages spoken in the Upper East Region are: Gurune/ Nankani, Nabit, Kusaal, Kasem, Buli, Bisa, and Talni. Tourism & Parks that a visitor will like to see if you are in love with Mother Nature are: The famous Paga crocodile pond, Gbelle game reserve, Sombo Bat Sanctuary, Jafiiri Sacred Royal Python Sanctuary, and Naa Gbewaa’s shrine.
- The Upper West Regionof Ghanais located in the north-western corner of Ghana and is bordered by Burkina Faso to the west and north. The Upper West regional capital and largest settlement is Wa. Major languages spoken in the Upper West Region are: Dagaare/Dagara, Waala, Sisaala, Birifor, Lobi, and Chakali. The main tourist attraction in the region is the Wechiau Hippopotamus Sanctuary, which is located southwest of Wa, along the Black Volta River in the Wa West District.
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The Damba Festival
The Damba Festival is celebrated across three regions: Northern, North East and the Savannah Regions: It is celebrated by the people of Dagbon, Mamprusi, Gonja and Nanumba, between the months of July and August.
The Jintigi Fire Festival
The Jintigi fire festival is celebrated by the chiefs and people of Gonja Land. The Festival is celebrated every year in the month of April. The festivities are celebrated in Damango, which is the capital of the Gonja Traditional Area.
The Sonyor Deng Festival
The Sonyor Deng festival is a cultural festival celebrated by the Gonja people in Bole. It is a thanksgiving festival which is celebrated to pay homage to the Sonyor Kupo shrine at Sonyor in the Bole district. During the celebration the people present live bush animals to the shrine.
Some of the popular festivals celebrated in the Upper East Region are the Ndaakoya festival celebrated by the Frafra, Talensi, and Nabdan speaking communities. It is usually celebrated in the early months of every New Year (January and February) to thank God for a successful harvest during the farming season. Then also is the Gologo Festival, celebrated among the chiefs and people of Talensi, Tong-Zuf, serving to reinforce the community belief in agricultural life.
Two Popular Festivals
Two popular festivals are celebrated in the Upper West region of Ghana. The Kobine festival is celebrated by the chiefs and people of Lawra. The festival is celebrated in the month of September every year. Then, the Kakube Festival is celebrated by the people of Nandom in the Upper West Region of Ghana. The festival is celebrated to show gratitude to the God for their protection and guidance throughout the farming season and also to mark the end of the farming season.