Marriage In Ghana
After initiation rites, a person is ready to marry. Marriage is a very important stage in the life of the Ghanaian. The main aims of getting married is to have children. This is why child-bearing is stressed throughout the initiation rites.
There are different ways of choosing partners. For example, in some communities, parents choose partners for their children. When a father feels that his son is ready for marriage, he finds a suitable wife for him.
In the past, most parents betrothed their daughters before thy were old enough to marry. Nowadays, parents who choose partners for their children seek the children’s consent first. In some cases too, the young people make their own choice and inform their parents. It is the customary practice for a man to seek the hands of a woman in marriage. In most communities it is a taboo for a woman to propose love and marriage to a man.
In our traditional set-up, marriage involves the man and the woman concerned as well as their families. Before the marriage, most families try to investigate each other’s family background. They do this to find out if there is anything that will prevent a successful marriage. They investigate to find out answers to questions such as these:
(a) Are there any communicable or hereditary diseases like tuberculosis (T.B.), leprosy, insanity, or
epilepsy in the family?
(b) Had there been any criminal record, e.g., murder or stealing?
(c) Is the family quarrelsome?
(d) Is the woman lazy?
(e) Can the man look after a wife?
It is only after both families are satisfied with their investigations that the marriage can be allowed.
In all communities in Ghana, there is the custom of giving gifts to the bride’s family, especially the mother. There is also a presentation of drinks and an amount of money, but the money involved differs from community to community. The gifts to the bride’s family by the bridegroom show his gratitude for allowing their daughter to be part of his (the bridegroom’s) family. The customary drink, the “ti-nsa” (head wine) of the Akan which is presented by the bridegroom seals the marriage. When there is a divorce, an arbitration decides whether a bride-wealth paid by the bridegroom should be returned to him or not.
Let us now look at how some communities perform their marriage rites.
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