It is sad that this trip was brought about by a death in the family. However, Ghanaians have an especially extraordinary way to not only mourn the dead but celebrate their lives.
Ghanaian funerals are usually held on Saturdays and Sundays. Saturdays are for viewing of the body and the burial service. Sunday is the thanksgiving service. Other days like Friday, is the “lying in state” when the body is transported and prepared for viewing. Monday and Tuesday, the children of the deceased meet with the elders for discussion matters unbeknownst to me. This is at least the simplest way my mom could explain to me. Feel free to read the following for more understanding and perspectives on Ghanaian funeral traditions.
- Dance, Laugh, Drink. Save the Date: It’s a Ghanaian Funeral.
- Why Ghanaians are so slow to bury their dead
This is the first time I have truly come to meet a lot of family members on my mother’s side. It’s weird because many would approach me asking if I remembered them and I, unfortunately, did not. Yet, there were faces that I had completely forgotten about but I would somehow instantly recognized when I saw them. It felt like when Raven would have those sudden visions!
There were names I remembered but couldn’t attach a face to and vice versa. Nonetheless, the welcome I received was extraordinary. I do have to say being able to speak the language (Twi) truly helped me assimilate and feel included.
Among the many eye-opening moments, was discovering that I had 29 cousins (just on my mother’s side). Meeting my cousins was exciting and overwhelming, I was introduced to many, and others I recognized only due to the identical cloth we all wore. There were moments where I wished I had grown here to have those closer relationships, many of them seem to have with one another.
I also came to realize how common blended families are in our community. All my siblings and I (and that’s only three of us) share the same parents, and that has often given me a sense of a tight-knit small family and misunderstanding that such was a common fate among many. But I got to see how truly extended families are, my own extended family is truly extended. An unexpectedly pleasant surprise. Will I get to know all of them? No. But I do intend to connect and build a rapport with some of them. Plus one of my great-nephews is hilarious! And that’s a plus.