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The Ashanti Tribe: 5 Interesting Facts

Updated: Sep 2, 2022

The Ashanti live in central Ghana in the Rain forests of West Africa. They are a major ethnic group of the Akans (Ashanti and Fanti) in Ghana. Ghana is a fairly new nation, barely more than 50 years old. It was previously called the Gold Coast.

Below are 5 interesting facts about the Ashanti people. Learn more about Africa in our Discover Africa Through Fairy Tales And Folktales for Kids Classes.

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1) They are fighters

The Ashanti people have always been known as fierce fighters. The people of this tribe have a slogan: "If I go forward I die. If I go backward I die. Better go forward and die." When the Ashanti tribe was faced with war, they used drums to signal the upcoming battle. The beat of these drums was so loud, they could be heard through the dense forest over long distances.

2) They have a special handshake

The Ashanti have a special handshake. They hold their left hand out to shake hands. Thatโ€™s because they believe that the left-hand holds the shield, and the right-hand holds the spears. So, in order to show that you trust someone, you put down your shield. That leaves the left hand free.

3) Theyโ€™ve got a sacred Golden Stool

The Golden Stool is a sacred symbol of the Ashanti nation believed to possess the soul of the Ashanti people. According to legend, the Golden Stool descended from heaven in a cloud of white dust and landed in the lap of the first Ashanti king, Osei Tutu. The king's priest proclaimed that going forward the strength and unity of the Ashanti people depended upon the safety of the Golden Stool. The Stool was made of gold, stands 18 inches high, 24 inches long, and 12 inches wide. It was never allowed to touch the ground and was considered so sacred that no one was allowed to sit on it. Each new Ashante king is lowered and raised over the Golden Stool without touching it. No one could be considered a legitimate ruler without the Golden Stool.

4) Their Kente cloth is worn on special occasions

Traditionally the Kente cloth is a festival cloth worn mainly during the annual and seasonal festivals, which are happy occasions. Today they are not only used for festive occasions but also during the rituals associated with the important events of life; for example, marriage, death, and religious worship.

5) They have special names

Children are considered to be a gift from God in Ghana. The birth of a child is therefore a very joyous and important occasion in the life of the parents and the community. At birth, the child is given a day name based upon the gender and day of the week on which the child was born.

For example, if the child is a male born on Saturday, he would be called Kwame, and if female, she would be called Ama.

What is Your Ashanti Name? Find out using the chart below.

Don't know what day you were born? Check out this calculator to find out.

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