Although many old age traditions have been wiped out by modern practices, wedding traditions in Ghana have withstood the test of time. Traditional customs add color and excitement to the process of joining man and woman. Below are a few of the Ghana wedding traditions that characterize Ghanaian weddings.
Ghana Wedding Traditions
In Akan tradition, the groom must send gifts to the bride that include clothing and wedding jewelry, a stool, a mat and a trunk for the wedding day. In Asante tradition, gifts and money are also exchanged between the two families before the bride is handed over.
When the groom’s family returns to the bride’s family home for the second visit, they carry some money, cola and two bottles of alcoholic drinks.
Before the bride leaves her home, a libation must be poured out in the presence of her family. At the same time, her brothers and male relatives also demand the “brother-in-law’s knife”, which is another payment that must be settled before the bride can leave her home.
- The Wedding Day
On this day, the groom’s family presents the dowry and the items on the dowry ‘list’ one by one. The brides’ family checks to see that no item is left out. Note that there is room for negotiation if the groom’s family feels that the required amount of items is too much.
The couple is not involved in these stages of negotiations. The bride stays in the house, while the groom sits with his family but has a designated spokesperson who communicates on his behalf. After all the gifts are accepted, however, the bride is brought out. A decoy may be sent out first, to add to some humor to the occasion.
After the groom acknowledges his bride, she is asked three times if she agrees to marry him. Her family also asks if they should accept the dowry and accompanying gifts. After she says yes, the groom puts the wedding ring on her finger and embraces her. They then sit together for the rest of the ceremony.
Ghana Marriage Traditions
- Kokooko – Knocking On the Door
This practice has its origin in the Ghanaian tradition, where a visitor knocks at the entrance of a house when he goes to visit. The groom, together with representatives from his family, visits the home of his bride to be with the intention of announcing his plans. Once the intentions are announced, the groom is asked to come back at a later date.
- Investigation into Family History
As the groom waits to be called back for the second meeting, the bride’s family investigates the groom’s family background. This investigation is done with the aim of making sure there are no chronic illnesses and illegitimate children in the family. The bride’s family also finds out about the groom’s character and reputation and finally decides if the man is a good match for their daughter
- Sequestering the Bride
This custom is one of the Ghana marriage traditions that is unique to the Anlo Ewe tribe. The bride is hidden away from everyone except a few female elderly relatives for several months before the wedding. During this time, she is prepared for marriage and its accompanying responsibilities. On her wedding day, her parents cover her body with powder (as an allegiance to her new husband) and hand her over to the groom.
Ghana Wedding Dresses
Most Ghanaian wedding dresses have Kente material incorporated in the design. Kente is a material that is native to Ghana – a type of silk fabric made of interwoven strips of cloth. Kente material is usually brightly colored, with unique patterns. The groom’s outfit usually has some strips of Kente fabric in it. Considering that most families in Ghana have their own Kente cloth pattern, each bride’s dress will most likely be unlike any other seen before.
Ghana wedding traditions are here to stay, as they are a crucial link between the past and present. These traditions also help to instill fast-disappearing cultural values in the present day generation.