Traditional Ceremony & Shrines

Life in Ghana is full of ceremonies that mark the important milestones in life. Shrines and Sacred Spaces are found throughout the country.

Guests receiving a traditional blessing in Ghana

TRADITIONAL BLESSING
Traditional blessings are given by the gods and communicated by spiritual leaders to those wishing guidance, protection or prosperity. Gifts to the gods are given in exchange for the care that they provide to you.

The Easy Track area can host traditional blessings for individuals or small groups. These are performed by a spiritual leader in our area and involve prayers and offerings to traditional gods at a traditional sacred altar.

Welcoming ceremony

WELCOME CEREMONY
Larger groups can be recipients of a Welcoming celebration that would be a large ceremony with drumming, singing, dancing and prayer throughout the night. Animal sacrifice would generally be part of such a ceremony, but we will escort those in your group away who do not wish to witness this thoroughly traditional and humane part of such a ceremony.

Such a celebration could last throughout the night. You can go sleep in your room and return to find the celebration still going!

Traditional naming ceremony

Outdooring ceremony

Naming ceremony for visitors to Ghana

NAMING CEREMONY & OUTDOORING
Children are considered to be a gift from God in Ghana. The birth of a child is therefore a very joyous and important occasion in the life of the parents and the community at large, and the naming ceremony is usually carried out with much celebration.

At birth, the child is given a day name based upon the gender and day of the week on which the child was born.

Weekday Female Male
Monday Adjoa Kojo
Tuesday Abena Kwabena
Wednesday Akua Kwaku
Thursday Yaa Yaw
Friday Afua Kofi
Saturday Ama Kwame
Sunday Akosua Kwesi
For example, if the child is a male born on Saturday, he would be called Kwame and if female, she would be called Ama.

Find the day of the week you were born.

When you visit Ghana, you can have your own Naming Ceremony where you will be given your Ghanaian name in a traditional ceremony of recognition. This would include an adornment of a Ghanaian cloth that you have previously selected that has been tailored for you as well as the traditional giving of a name to you as a child of this earth.

Door of Return Ceremony

DOOR OF RETURN
During the days of the slave trade, the door from which slaves exited the holding fort was known as the "Door of No Return". It was known to all who passed through this door that they would never again see their homeland. There is a movement to now extend "Door of Return" ceremonies to our returning Diaspora. This is a ceremony where you are recognized as a descendant of an ancestor who passed through this door and are now returning, through this same door, to a homeland you have never known. These ceremonies can be very moving for some. They can take place on the beach at the door, or for larger groups, you can be taken to sea and returned.

Special note to our Diaspora: In recognition of your special ancestral roots in Africa, the government of Ghana extends you many privileges, including preferential access to residency and expedited business investment opportunities. You can inquire directly with the Ghana Immigration Service or the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre

Festival in Otuam, Ghana

DURBAR OF CHIEFS
As part of many festivals will be a colorful Durbar, or procession, of chiefs. These are a regal and dignified display of the important elders and leaders of a community and their court leading to an exciting celebration complete with drumming, dancing and traditional libations and blessings

The Easy Track team is well known at many villages and can arrange for a private reception with chiefs and elders. For groups, we can arrange a private Durbar of chiefs. You will be entertained, learn some culture and receive a traditional blessing.

Traditional ceremony in Ghana

FESTIVALS
Ghana is a land of festivals which are a colorful and vibrant part of our culture. Festivals and durbars are held in various parts of the country to celebrate the history of the people, offer thanks and mark important rites. The celebration of these festivals in Ghana is an essential part of Ghanaian culture.

Examine our list of known festivals in Ghana throughout the year. Many will have dates that are not assigned until close to the time of the festival, but some are regularly held with specific dates.

Funeral in Akropong

FUNERAL
A funeral in Ghana is something to behold, and you are welcome to attend any funeral that you may see. Funerals are generally held on weekends and are easy to see because of the distinctive red and black dress that all attendees are wearing.

While of course there is mourning, the emphasis at a funeral is in the celebration of the life of the deceased and ensuring that the spirit of the deceased has a good send-off. Objects that will please the spirit of the deceased are in full display and families will spend unwise amounts of money (certainly more than for weddings!) for an extravagant funeral. Funerals often come complete with drinks, DJs, dance and revelry.

There are exotic coffins made for some, and in many cases the coffin will be carried by trusted friends to a favorite place of the deceased for a final goodbye before burial.

Sacred Spaces and Shrines

There are thousands of shrines and sacred spaces in Ghana, commemorating ancestors, gods, historical events, and everyday life.

Posuban shrrine in Mankessem, Ghana

POSUBAN SHRINES
Posuban shrines are found in the coastal areas of the Fante people. These shrines can be anything from simple statues, such as the Posuban crab in Cape Coast, to elaborate concrete structures with life-size figures, fantasy creatures and other strange objects. Some are well maintained and regularly painted, while others can look like they need some attention. But all are certainly interesting.

Long ago these were the posts for local Asafo companies, or tribal militias. Now decommissioned as military units, the Asafo remains as a social and political organization that is responsible for maintaining these shrines and arranging annual Asafo festivals.

Black and White Power shrine near Kumasi, Ghana

ASHANTI SHRINES
The dozen traditional Ashanti buildings are the only surviving examples of this traditional architecture. These buildings are all near Kumasi and designated a World Heritage Site. They have steep thatched roofs with lower walls painted the color of the earth and the upper walls whitewashed. The walls hold symbolic murals, like those on the Adinkra cloth.

The buildings consist of four rooms around a central courtyard. Three of the rooms are open and used for drumming, singing and household activities. The closed room is the actual shrine and is generally closed to all but the priest or priestess, and assistants.

The center courtyard will contain a number of fetishes and is home to the Obosomfie, the spiritual abode of a deity, who manifests itself through those who the spirit will enter.

Traditional shrine

ANCESTRAL ALTARS & SHRINES
Throughout Ghana many people recognize the spirit of their ancestors. Prayers will be made and offerings given to important family members that have passed into the spirit world. These ancestors are always with you and offer guidance and protection. It is for this assistance that elaborate funerals are so important to give to the spirit of the deceased.

Important anniversaries of the passing of ancestors will also be remembered, with especially large celebrations being held on the 1 year, 5 year, 10 year anniversaries of death, and beyond.

Altar at Wassa Domama rock shrine in Ghana

SACRED SPACES of the GODS
Ghana is a place where many traditional gods share the religious landscape with Christian and Muslim religions. It is not unusual to see icons of the great religions of the world at places of traditional Ghanaian worship.

You will encounter sacred spaces for these traditional gods at many places in Ghana. These shrines may be elaborate structures, simple creations, or a natural object, such as a stone, a forest grove, or even a fallen tree. All are equally sacred and must be accorded proper respect.

In the traditional way, there are spirits associated with all the things around you. The stone, the wind, thunder, the river, trees, and all the things in creation that surround you are all recognized to have a spirit.

Gifts are given at these spaces when asking a favor or for protection. At some shrines, the gods will be put to sleep at night by covering them with a cloth, and awoke in the morning with gong, bells, chants and/or prayers.

Church in Kumasi

Mud-and-stick mosque at Larabanga

CHURCHES and MOSQUES
About 60% of Ghanaian population are Christian, mostly in the south. So of course there are numerous churches, cathedrals and other places of Christian worship throughout Ghana. You can explore lovely churches in Accra, Kumasi, Ho and other large cities, as well as surprisingly in Navrongo in the far north. Catholic and Methodist churches are particularly elaborate in some places.

Islam is the 2nd largest religion in Ghana. Muslims are about 21% of the Ghanaian population and are the majority in the north of Ghana. Mosques can be found in every town or city in Ghana. In a number of places in the north, there are ancient mosques that are quite amazing. You are always welcome for prayers if a practicing Muslim. Otherwise, the Imam or a caretaker will be able to give you a tour.

Unique to many countries with heterogeneous religious populations, Christians and Muslims live together in harmony in Ghana. Both Christian and Muslim holidays are recognized National Holidays and are celebrated by peoples of all faiths.

Read more about the Religions of Ghana

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