Wedding Traditions in Ghana

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KNOCKING ON THE DOOR

  • Since marriage in African culture is considered the official joining of two families, a large emphasis is placed on getting family permissions and blessings before the wedding. In Ghana, the groom requests permission through the custom of “knocking on the door.” Bearing gifts, he visits his potential in-laws accompanied by his own family. If his “knock” is accepted, the families celebrate and wedding planning begins. Or, simply plan an outing (like a brunch or dinner date) to bring both families together before the wedding and begin forming family bonds.

ASANTE WEDDING

  • In traditional Asante weddings, money and gifts were also exchanged before the bride was handed over to her new husband. Of note, receipt of this payment also meant that the husband automatically assumed legal paternity of all their children.
  • Among the Anlo Ewe, the bride is sequestered from everyone but a few elderly female relatives for several months prior to the wedding. On the day she was finally handed over to her new husband after her seclusion, her parents would cover her body with powder as a symbol of her allegiance to her new husband. She would then be handed over to her new husband

AKAN WEDDINGSTraditions in Ghana

  • Prior to the wedding ceremony the groom is required to send gifts to the bride which include clothing and wedding jewelry, a mat, a stool and a trunk box. On the day of the actual wedding, the groom will send delegates to the bride’s house to escort her over to his home. A libation is poured out before she leaves her home and her brothers (or male relatives) will demand what is known as a “brother-in-law’s knife”… This is essentially another payment that has to be paid and paid up the bride is permitted to leave her parent’s house.

AFTER WEDDING TRADITION

  • To mark the moment when the bride moves from her father’s home to her new husband’s, the groom will present his new in-laws with gifts of wine and gin.
  • He also believes that by doing so he is pleasing the gods of his new wife’s family. It is only then that the bride can move in with her husband.
  • To celebrate this occasion, she will cook a huge feast for her new husband and his extended family.

WEDDING ATTIRE (KENTE)

  • Bride and groom may choose handwoven African royal fabrics, called Kente to wear for the ceremony making them King and Queen for a day. The traditional color of African royalty is purple accented with gold. These may also be used as accent colors for the bridal ensemble.
  • Kente Cloth is a primary woven fabric produced by the people of the old Ashanti Kingdom of Ghana. It has traditional red, gold and green repeated in the design which symbolizes liberation i.e. red, for the blood shed by millions in captivity; gold, for the mineral wealth or prosperity; and green, for vegetation.
  • The African bride wears a Wrap Skirt (iro) made of kente cloth, a matching Shawl (iborum) and Headpiece (a gele’), and a Short, loose blouse (buba) made out of the same fabric as the skirt.

ZULU CULTURE – “THE GREAT HOMES”

  • In Ghana, Africa, location is everything. Women in Ghana are viewed as the life force of the tribe. After all, they were where all the great warriors and chiefs came from. Because of this, Zulu culture referred to women as “the great homes.” Because of this status, it was considered customary for the husband to be, to move to his bride’s village.

JUMPING THE BROOM

  •  The significance of the broom to African-Americans heritage and history originates in the West African country of Ghana.
  • Brooms were waved over the heads of marrying couples to ward off spirits. The couple would often but not always jump over the broom at the end of the ceremony. Jumping over the broom symbolized the wife’s commitment or willingness to clean the courtyard of the new home she had joined. Furthermore, it expressed her overall commitment to the house. It also represented the determination of who ran the household. Whoever jumped highest over the broom was the decision maker of the household (usually the man). The jumping of the broom does not add up to taking a “leap of faith.”

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