Sunday 26th February was a day I will never forget! However, before I talk about it, I must tell you about the run up to the magical day.
It all started on Saturday 25th, when I awoke to an incredibly loud scream at approximately 4:00 am. Traditionally in an Islamic wedding in northern Ghana, extended family members will create loud noises; which includes playing the drums, in celebrations of the unity.
Following on from this, the bride’s family home was buzzing with excitement, as everyone was rushing to get ready in time for her first appearance.
In the meantime, my counterpart and I were helping each other put on our beautifully hand- made African outfits and styling our hair the traditional Ghanaian way.
Eventually, we left our rooms to join the party where we were greeted by a group of drummers who forced us to dance! It was amazing!
Not long after, we rushed over to where the bride had been staying and greeted her whilst she waited for her lele to dry. This is a design painted on her hands up to her arms and from her ankles up her legs. I brought her some gifts to congratulate her, in the form of make-up and costume jewellery. Then we left the building to wait outside, so that she could get dressed and to also mingle with the guests.
|Rachelle and the Bride.|
Nevertheless, she then appeared and all the guests, mainly female, swarmed around her taking pictures. She then walked out of her neighbour’s complex and into the streets heading towards her home. It was great!
Everyone gathered and sang, took pictures along with the drummers playing away. As the procession continued towards her home she was full of joy and waving to all her guests. Upon arrival to her former home, she greets her parents and the guests there before heading back to change her outfit. This continued for approximately 3 times.
During the changes of outfits, all the guests were mingling, eating and dancing. At certain parts of the ceremony, the bride will stay in a room and that is where guests greeted her and presented her with gifts, often money.
At the end of the day, the bride returned to her neighbour’s house where she will repeat the ceremony for the next day. The only difference is that she will then go to the mosque with her husband at the end of the day, and the Imam will speak to her and her husband about what is expected of them from marriage. After this, she will then go with her husband to their home.
|The Bride dressed up the next day.|
Altogether, even though weddings in northern Ghana differ greatly to U.K traditions, the day was fabulous! It was full of excitement, noise, music, food and laughter!
By Rachelle Palmer.