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Cultural Practices in Ghana

When we visited Living Star School in March we were presented with project work from all of the classes. Two of which had been working on our project to do with worship and cultural festivals. The information on this page is taken from the books presented from Classes Two and Five.

Selecting and Installing a Chief

This is one of the most important practices amongst the tribes in Ghana as the Chiefs play important roles in governing people. All ethnic groups have a Chief to lead them. Chiefs are selected to occupy a vacant stool or skin. Chiefs in Southern Ghana are enstooled while Chiefs in the North are enskinned. Those responsible for selecting the next Chief are called the Kingmakers. The Queen Mother nominates the new Chief. The King Makers have to look for these qualities;

  • He has a good educational background
  • He has a good life record
  • He is physically and mentally sound
  • He does not have a criminal record
  • He is intelligent
  • He is a member of the royal family
  • He is well-built and presentable
  • He would be accepted by the people

If accepted by the King Makers he will be carried through the town with songs and dancing. The people ut white powders etc on him to show he is acceptable. He is then trained for 7 days on how to be a Chief by the Elders. On the Eighth day he will be brought out, beautifully dressed in traditional wear and will make promises to the people to serve them truthfully in rain or shine.

Naming Ceremony

This is a traditional practice common to almost all the ethnic groups. It is a special event to welcome a new born baby into the family and wider community. The practice is called 'Our-dooring' because it is the first time they are taken outdoors since birh. It normally falls on the 8th day or the child's life. Once a child reaches 8 days old it means he has come to stay and will be identified with his/her family and community. Traditionally the child's Auntie (Father's Sister) announces what the child's name will be. Water and wine are dipped on the tongue of the baby. The Father presents traditional gifts to the baby and the Mother like cloth or a ring.

Main Religions

1) Christianity

Christians belief in one God, they believe in the words in the Bible, they believe in Jesus Christ, they believe in the Holy Spirit. Christians in Ghana will go to church on Sundays, sometimes on Saturdays and will also go at other times during the week for Bible study, discussions and prayer / music meetings.

They are part of a worldwide Christian community.

Children are baptised in Ghana but many wait for adult baptism when they fully understand the Bible. This sometimes takes place in a river.  

Main Religions

2) Islam

Muslims believe in one God, Allah, they believe in Angels, in Holy Scriptures (Qur'an) , in Prophets and Messengers (Muhammad pbuh), in a day of Judgement and in Destiny.

They are part of a worldwide Muslim community following the same beliefs and practices including Hajj.

Main Religions

3) Traditional

Many different versions but most believe in one main God but with lesser Gods. The lesser Gods use their powers to protect, guard and help people. A traditional believer will often pray to a lesser God for help. Traditional believers build shrines, temples or altars and have Priests or Priestesses to look after them.

Believers in Traditional Religion believe in the spirit of the dead called The Ancestors. Those who have lived good lives may become Ancestors.  Food and drink are left on the ground for them . They also believe in good and bad ghosts and in punishment for breaking taboos. It is in the breaking of the taboos which may cause famine or epidemics.

Traditional beliefs can be found throughout the world but practices develop within a tribal community.