The Akwambo festival, which is celebrated in Ghana in early September, is an occasion when paths to streams, shrines, and holy places are swept. I think it’s disrespectful when New Agers and Neopagans read about a ritual that sounds interesting and just pick it up and celebrate it however they want. Doing this is taking a ritual—and a belief system—entirely out of its proper context. But we’re all guilty of this, aren’t we?
While the idea of path cleaning and giving thanks to our ancestors is a good one, let’s not engage in cultural piracy. We can do our own kind of path cleaning! Give thanks to your ancestors (and neighbors) that you have a path, both literal and metaphorical, to walk. When you walk, carry a trash bag and pick up some trash. At home, neaten up your sidewalk or front yard as you give thanks to Hygeia and Hestia.