An African Wedding – Ghanian Trip Part 2

While we were in Ghana we had the amazing experience of going to a Ghanian wedding. It was only the second Christian wedding that they’ve had in that part of the country, so they were pretty much on uncharted ground while trying to figure out what Christian elements they wanted to incorporate into the day. 
One of the really cool things about our missionary friends is that they have a high respect for the Ghanian culture and have worked very hard at not Westernizing them in any way. Therefore, even though the people there had asked what an American wedding was like, our friends basically said, “No, no, even though you want to have a Christian wedding, you don’t want to make it American. Keep it totally Ghanian.” And so they did. 
There are about 30 girls walking around the drummers at this time. 

We drove four hours over bumpy, red, dusty roads to get to the village where our friends (Wes and Charity) used to live (they moved to the city of Tamale a year and a half ago), then a bunch of us piled into the back of the truck for another fifteen minute drive to the village where the wedding was going to take place.

When we arrived, we walked over to a large field where they had set up some benches with a dried-grass canopy overtop. There was one set of benches and canopies, then a large open space, and then another set of benches and canopies. One side was for the grooms family, the other for the brides.

While waiting for the ceremony to commence, there were some guys drumming and a circle of girls walking/dancing around them singing. It was burning hot and I watched in amazement as they continued walking/dancing for a long time. It was pretty crazy.

The best man, groom, the groom’s father, and the paid drummers who drum on talking drums. 

After a while we headed over to the groom’s compound with Wes and sat outside on their ‘couch’ which is a bunch of logs about eight inches thick sitting on a platform, all the sides open and a dried-grass roof. It’s probably about fifteen feet long and eight feet wide.

The Ghanian’s are a very, very respectful and honoring people. When greeting someone, it’s customary to bend over or squat down to show respect. They also have quite the long greetings with questions like “How are you doing? How is your husband? How are your animals? How was your sleep?” even to complete strangers. The correct response is to say Naaaaaa after each question, which pretty much means “I received your greeting.”

Another thing they do is, if you want to show extra respect to someone, you don’t talk directly to them. Wes wanted to tell the father of the groom something about the wedding, so he quietly said it to the man next to him, and that man went over and quietly said it to another man, who then went over and told it to the father. Wes was only about five feet away from the groom’s father in the first place.

 After waiting for a while, the brides family was ready and so we girls got ready to take pictures of the procession. (The people were excited at the thought of having pictures of the happy event, so we girls joked with each other that we were international wedding photographers.)

A lot of the bride’s friends walked/danced and sang in front of the truck carrying the bride and her family. Some of the girls were even carrying wedding gifts on their heads. It was a beautiful sight. It’s the dry season there right now, so almost everything was brown and red. The extremely colorful clothing was such a wonderful splash of brightness.

Since Wes had his truck in the village, he took the bride and her family from the compound they were staying in to where the wedding was taking place. As you can see, they were piled in.

 The wedding was several hours long, and it was hot, probably over a hundred degrees. We were sitting on backless benches (which we were very thankful for!) and half of the time we weren’t able to see what was going on because so many people were standing in front of us. We couldn’t understand what they were saying because out in the village they don’t speak much English. (English is the official Ghanian language, but it was quite different from the English we speak.) It was hard to keep track of what we were supposed to be doing (Sit. Stand up. Oh, wait, they’re praying. Say Amen. Clap. Etc…), Wes did a great job of coming over and explaining stuff to us when he could, but he was busy with other duties. It was an amazing experience and something totally unlike what I was used to. 
After a while, one of our Ghanian friends who live with Wes and Charity came over and translated for us. That made it extra, extra neat! Believe me, it was a ceremony unlike any I’ve ever been to before. 
After the wedding was over, they all brought gifts over and had a contest to see if the men or women would give more gifts. The women won; Wes said they always do. It was a big production though, with everyone dancing over with their gifts (the guys were drumming during this time). It was really neat to watch. The people there are very generous. 
Then they all danced around the drummer, this time probably a couple hundred people joining in the circle. After that everyone was divided into groups and taken to the different houses to eat lunch. 
There’s so much more to tell, but I’m running out of space and time, so I’ll leave it at that for now. I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about the African people of Ghana. 

5 thoughts on “An African Wedding – Ghanian Trip Part 2

  1. Aidyl Ewoh says:

    Aww, thanks, Cait! Yes, I learned a tona bout Ghana, too! And theres still so much to share when I get around to posting it, like how the parents of the bride don't attend the wedding and how much the groom has to do to get a bride and all that good stuff. 🙂


  2. Mrs. Abigail Miller says:

    I loved reading about this! What a wonderful experience to be there. I'm so glad the missionaries encouraged them to remain Ghanian in their ceremony. Thank you for sharing the details… And for the great international wedding photography!;-)


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