Ghanaian Culture

We had a “Ghanaian Culture” presentation today. I’ll give you some of the highlights:

– Ghana is “right centic.”

This means that kids are forced to use their right hands. People shake with their right hands. You offer gifts with your right hand, and you eat with your right hand. People are introduced from right to left.

– Ghana has had many coups to get to the peaceful state they are in today. However, there are still political rivals that root back to different ethic groups.

Religion:

– There are no religious conflicts in Ghana. Conflict occurs over which person comes to power as leader.

– Religions have become blended with traditional/tribal faiths. So, you could have a Christians who go to church Sunday… then Monday they sacrifice a deer to their ancestors in the Festival of the Deer.

– Inter-tribal marriage is acceptable, just not inter-faith marriages.

Family:

Families use to live in compounds with their extended families (aunts, grandparents, nephews). It provided a supports system, but it could get expensive. However, many couples are now choosing to live in their own house with their immediate families. Many frown on this because they believe mothers and fathers cannot raise a child alone. A community must raise a child.

– Children are named after days of the week

Funerals:

These start on Friday and last until Sunday. These are times of celebration and parties. Families spend a lot of money repainting their homes, buying food and alcohol, and making sure everyone is having fun. Unfortunately, in effort to have a big party many families don’t pay their child’s school bill. Therefore, they are sacrificing school for a party.

Arts:

Ghanaians don’t value the arts. There are no museums or libraries. The Gates Foundation is currently working on a project to build a library.

Homosexuality:

Homosexuality is illegal. It is more of a don’t ask don’t tell policy. Most Ghanaian know people who are gay, but there is a passive acceptance. If any law passed making it legal there would be major conflict. There is no punishment (we were told of) for being gay.

– In general Ghana is a peaceful country with little trouble. They try to live by the idea “keep the peace.” So, while many may want to change something in their community, they would rather not rock the boat… so nothing changes. Of course, there are exceptions.

Healthcare:
There is a National Health Insurance covering all citizens. However, it is poorly run and of poor quality. There are limited doctors and access to health care in general.

7 thoughts on “Ghanaian Culture

  1. I find this portion of the blog intriguing, especially since I see connections betwen the Nigerian and Ghanian culture. For examole, Nigerians are also right centirc. I would get slapped or punished for using my right hand with an elder. Using it is a sign of disrespect. However, I do not remember any enforcement of writing with one’s right hand….Also, Nigerians throw large parties in hinor of one’s death. I have ben to a few myself. Lastly, the “it takes a village to raise a child” concept is very alive in Nigeria. Ghana seems fascinating!

  2. I found this very similar to many other cultures I’ve learned about. One thing that I felt that was most commonly practiced in other countries was the funeral party instead of a sad funeral service. It was also interesting how they feel that a kid can’t be raised by parents alone, that the whole community must be involved. This is really different compared to the way we raise children in America. In America, most people would take offense to having someone else raise their child because it would be like insulting their parenting skills.

  3. One question I had is like in India where they have cast system and cant move or marry out of that class, is there a similar system for religions in Ghana? Since people are not allowed to marry outside of their religions, is it because of some kind of cast system? Also are you born into a religion or can you pick and choose?

    • Nope! No caste system. I think the just believe it is important to marry in your own faith. It isn’t illegal to marry someone of a different faith, but it isn’t encouraged.

  4. I find the culture of Ghanians very interesting. One thing that I thought was fairly odd was their lack of art. Seeing from photos that were uploaded they seem they would appreciate art( appearance wise). I think their jewelry making should be art. Dancing could be classified as art as well. It was also surprising when I read that Ghanians were “Right Centic”. I’m a lefty so, the fact that the people of Ghana are required to use their left hand is hard for me to grasp.

  5. I think that it would be interesting to be a natural lefty in Ghana. As a left handed person, I would probably have to get used to the idea of using my right hand constantly. If a child in Ghana were to be born as a left-handed, are they forced to become left handed while being taught in school? If so, is it difficult to learn that new skill as a child? I thought that it was interesting that funerals are 3 days long. It’s nice to know that in some cultures that the dead are well respected. I thought that the possible conflict that would occur if a law was passed to legalize gay marriage was like the conflict in North Carolina over Amendment 1. If there is a law passed in Ghana, is it more of the traditionalists who would oppose that law or would it be the general population?

    • Sara- It seems the majority o the country would reject homosexuality. It is a very strong Christian and Muslim country.

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