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In America, this tradition lives on through the Asanteman Day Durbar Event under the auspices of the Asanteman North America.  The Asanteman Day was established to be celebrated during the Labor Day weekend in one of the Association’s member states or cities.  All Asantes worldwide and especially in North America are expected and encouraged to attend.  It is an occasion for showcasing Asante culture and stimulating public appreciation for it as well.

The Asantehene is usually represented by His Royal Majesty's Ambassador to North America,      Nana Adusei Atwenewa Ampem, Omanhene of Tepa Traditional Area, and other prominent chiefs that accompanied him.  All the various Asante chiefs and queenmothers bring colorful cultural artifacts. The scene is very typical of the durbar of chiefs held at Manhyia Palace. All the chiefs are dressed in rich kente cloths and adorned with gold ornaments. They are followed by attendants who wear feathered hats and carried gold plated swords.

As a public display of Asante culture, the durbar provides abundant opportunity to educate and inform the general public about Asante history and culture. Below are but a few examples of the kinds of  cultural artifacts that can be explained and/or demonstrated:

  • Kente cloth symbols; 
  • Kente cloth weaving;
  • Talking Fontonfrom drumming;
  • Hand gestures associated with Kete and Adowa traditional dance;
  • How the Asante Confederacy was formed historically;
  • The traditional system of chieftaincy;
  • The role of the Ohemaa (Queenmother); and
  • The role of the Okyeame (Spokesman).

The Durbar in its Traditional and Contemporary Setting


In traditional Asante, the durbar is part of the annual Adae Kese Festival and is held in a large open space in Kumasi near Manhyia Palace.  Presided over by the Asantehene, it involves a colorful parade of canopies and umbrellas accompanied by fontonfrom drums, kete and adowa dancers, horn blowers and singers. First celebrated over three hundred years ago after winning the war of independence against the Denkyiras, the Adae Kese became an annual event during which the paramount chiefs pledged allegiance to the Asante kingdom and demonstrate their continued loyalty to the occupant of the Golden Stool. The occasion serves the purpose of preserving unity and loyalty. The durbar is the public setting where all this took place.

The main elements of the Durbar consists of:

  • A procession of Chiefs and Queenmothers wearing traditional kente and gold ornaments;
  • The seating of the Asantehene’s representative who will preside over the Durbar;
  • Traditional dancing and drumming;
  • Message from the Asantehene delivered by his representative;
  • Paying homage to the Asantehene’s representative;
  • Exhibitions, lectures and demonstrations; and 
  • Speeches by special guests.


As a public display of Asante culture, the durbar provides abundant opportunity to educate and inform the general public about Asante history and culture.

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