Funerals in Ghana are not only an occasion to mourn. They are also an opportunity to celebrate the life of the dearly departed.
Hardly ever a somber, low-key affair, Ghanaian funerals are a social event attended by a large number of mourners, which could reach hundreds -- the more, the better.
That means the person was very friendly, charitable, good at socializing, and good at communicating with the people within the society.
Ghanaians may spend as much money on funerals as on weddings, sometimes even more.
An average funeral should cost between $4,000-$20,000, depending on the rituals and the demands of the family and the deceased—a funeral planner is in charge of 30 funeral parties on this one day alone.
That includes the obligatory giant advertisements on both radio and tv stations, word-of-mouth advertisements, posters, and colorful billboards that announce funeral arrangements; the billboards, which may cost from nearly $600 to $3,000, are placed at strategic spots for everybody to see, often dotting the cities' skylines.
Most funerals are held on the weekends, most frequently on Saturdays. Mourners, usually dressed in black or black and red traditional funeral clothing, may travel to other towns or villages. They expect the bereaved families to provide food, drinks, music, and dance.
The extravagance also extends to the caskets. Coffins have become a statement in Ghana. They are usually brightly colored and elaborate. They may have fanciful shapes that resemble the dead's favorite objects or represent their profession.
Thus, a carpenter may have a coffin shaped like an airplane for a well-known pilot or a shoe for a famous shoemaker. There are also caskets shaped like Coca-Cola bottles, birds, cars, and so on.
Ghanaians revere the dead so much that funerals are at the heart of Ghanaians' social life.
Funeral rites also involve some official crying by mourners, as well as praying. But after all that, the rest of the funeral ritual is purely party time.
Ghana is graced with 540km of stunning, sandy coastline. Most of it is undeveloped, and many of its beaches are like private paradises waiting to be explored. To the east are Ada, Keta, and Prampram, and to the west, Brenu, Busua, Anomabo, and Axim. Labadi Beach is a major attraction for locals and visitors alike in the capital.
Ecotourism has become popular over the last few years, and there are now a few eco-lodges in the Axim area. If lucky, you can watch nesting turtles or even see migratory whales passing Ghana's coastal waters.
Labadi beach attracts hundreds of beach-goers in the capital city at the weekend. Drinking spots line the shore, and there is often entertainment late into the evening.
A very clean beach on the Atlantic Ocean coast is just 3 miles from Kopeyia in the town of Denu. Dagbe Centre students who know how to swim and those who want to relax between classes and/or on the weekends are taken here.
Please be aware that there is also a crime in Ghana. Be careful when moving around and going to places by yourself (either go with someone local or do it yourself during the day). Please do not take pictures of people working in the market without asking for their permission first, as they generally do not like that. Have a trusted guide on your side. If you are a white person, you are likely to pay more…
Market, the Do's
This is a market, a bargain if you like to buy more expensive items! Kente clothes are a good start, as this is a typical Ghanaian-made souvenir. If you need anything you haven't been able to find, you can most probably find it at Makola Market: Shoes, towels, sunglasses, beaded jewelry, bags, hats, a water basin, a chair, smoked fish, veggies - anything. Be conscious about your surroundings, hang on to what you carry, and have fun.
Denu market is the traditional cloth, beads, and food market with various printed and woven fabrics. This market is open once every five days. Students have the rare opportunity to see beads and other traditional wares being sold at the market and can make purchases of anything that interests them with the help of a staff member for a good bargain. Students can buy clothes to make shirts, dresses, pants, and more.