THE ASANTEHENE, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, was the toast of the huge crowd that jammed the forecourt of the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi on Sunday to witness the Akwasidae festival.
It was the first official public ceremony that the Asante King has taken part in, after his return from South Africa where he was rumoured to be dead.
Dressed in his rich Asante regalia, the Asantehene approached the durbar grounds in a hearty mood as the expectant gathering applauded him.
Beaming with smiles, the Asantehene was seen waving to the crowd including traditional leaders, politicians, the clergy, businessman and people from all walks of life.
After being carried in the palanquin through the durbar grounds, Otumfuo finally sat in state as some selected people were given the chance to pay homage to him as usually done during Akwasidae celebrations.
Among the prominent people present included the Ashanti Regional Minister, Hon Eric Opoku, his deputy, Samuel Yaw Adusei, Obuasi MCE Ofori Agyeman Boadi, DCOP Augustine Gyennin and other security capos.
The Asante Mamponghene, Daasebere Osei Bonsu, Offinsohene, Nana Wiafe Akenten, Bantamahene, Baffuor Asare Owusu Amankwatia and other top traditional leaders were present.
The wife of the Asantehene, Lady Julia Osei Tutu, also stormed the durbar grounds in the company of her children who paid homage to the Asantehene who was beaming with smiles.
As usually done during Akwasidae festivals, Otumfuo did not give any address. At the tail end of the ceremony, Otumfuo, sitting in a palanquin, moved through the durbar grounds to shake hands with some selected dignitaries.
Otumfuo who was looking very elated, was intermittently seen, dancing to the traditional tunes that was being provided from all corners at the durbar grounds which was filled with a sea of people.
The Akwasidae is celebrated on the first Sunday of every 40 days on the Akan calendar. It is an occasion where people from all walks of life are given the rare chance to pay homage to Otumfuo.