Ghana culture / environment

Culture is Lifestyle as manifested by a particular people or society. So it is man-made, not genetically inherited, culture is dynamic and affected by local and external factors. Ghana has over 50 ethnic groups each of them characterized by peculiar cultural values and traditions that give Identity to their group.

The fact that culture is important to Ghana can be measured by the fact that Ghana the official name of the Minister of Tourism is the Minister of Tourism and Culture and local arts. Ghana also has a ministry of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs. The cultural diversities where integrated in the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana recognizes culture as a vital tool for national integration and development. In many respects, Ghana’s cultural traditions can be exploited for development.

Several decades ago chieftaincy in Ghana came under fire, however, traditional governance, closely tied up with ancestral veneration, ritual and ceremonial exigencies related to the social, spiritual and economic re-found its place in society despite restrictions on entering politics and others.

The National Cultural Policy regards Chieftaincy as “the Kingpin of Ghanaian traditional culture”; “an anchor of cultural life in all communities and in the nation as a whole”. Culture, not only Ghanaian culture, is part of everybody’s life and upbringing, social behavior, eating and dressing habits are woven into our culture.

The first contact with Ghanaian culture often starts on arrival at the Airport where Akwaaba is the Ghanaian expression of welcome. Secondly the typical Ghanaian “clicking” handshake with thumb and middle-finger.

Be conscious of using only your right hand. Hand over money with your right hand, eat only with your right hand. The left hand is used for self cleaning.

When Greeting people in a group make sure you go from right to left (counter clockwise) and pay extra attention to the most important person in the group. Europeans, but also Asians are called Obroni, especially children like greeting you often.

Other typical Ghanaian cultural events include, Outdooring and name giving of a new born. Smoking in public is simply not done, although cigarettes are cheap by European standards, Ghanaians hardly smoke, girls smoking are often called ashawo (prostitutes).

Before Ghanaians  start drinking after opening a bottle they pay respect to the gods, by pouring some of the drink (hard liquor) on the floor, at funerals and outdoring occasions fetish priests often pray loud before pouring some of the drinks on the floor. Funerals have a special position in Ghana and the funeral itself usually takes 3 days, although the period to prepare for the funeral can take between 1 and 3 months but sometimes years