This blog covers the years 2014-2016 when we (the Robisons) were at the Ghana MTC. To see the blog covering the period 2016-2018 click on this link:

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Ghana MTC Shares Compound with Two Local Wards - And yes, they have funerals too

Ever wonder what the various colors worn to funerals in African mean?  Here is a photo taken this morning of a funeral in the chapel right next to the MTC:

A local columnist, Emanuel Mensah recently wrote an article about what the colors mean:

"In this age of modernity and technology, does it really matter what colors one wears to say goodbye to the dead?

On weekends, particularly Saturdays, most streets in Ghana become awash with mourners clad in red, black, and sometimes white clothing.

The Ghanaian is very superstitious and has a strong belief in ghosts and ancestors.  It is believed the dead cannot rest in peace until a befitting funeral and burial ceremony are held for them.  According such courtesies to the dead requires special funeral clothes, which traditionally come in red, black, brown, and white colors.

People sometimes have to pay a high price for these clothes.  But the reality is, one cannot afford to attend a funeral in just any attire without attracting criticism.  According to Dr. Dan Bright, a sociologist at the University of Ghana, funerals are special occasions in Ghana because they celebrate the life of the deceased.  “When a person dies, he enters the spiritual realm, and for that matter, the ordinary cloth we wear will not be appropriate.  It is a special event,” Bright said.

Culturally, the black and red attire for funeral ceremonies in Ghana signifies a grieving period.  Traditionally, red is associated with danger and black with grief, hence the use of these colors to communicate the passing of a loved one.

However, when a person grows to a ripe old age of seventy years and above, the belief is that the person has lived long and has been blessed, so why not rejoice instead of grieve?  Traditionally, white signifies victory or joy, so on such an occasion as the final funeral rites for someone over the age of seventy, the white cloth is used to celebrate the life of that person.  In most cultures in Ghana, too, the white cloths are worn on Sunday, the final day of the funeral rites, to show relief in the assurance that the deceased has made a successful transition into the spirit world."

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