Tradition versus modernity: Perspectives on economic transformation of Akan funerals

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University of Ghana


This article examines the economic aspect of contemporary Akan funeral celebrations in Ghana. Akan lineage members, from birth through puberty, marriage, maturity, old age, go through various rites of passage that bond them culturally, socially and spiritually to others in society. One such rite is funeral celebration, which has been at the heart of public social events of the people. Akan funerals, wherever they are celebrated, be it in Ghana or the diaspora, form a context for people to come together. However, the changes in Ghanaian Akan funerals over the years, and their impact on the people, make this a crucial topic to study. The authors interviewed 20 Akans (10 based in the U.S. and the other 10 based in Ghana), to explore their perspectives on the changing economic trends of Akan funeral practices. Economic impact and the resulting challenges identified by the participants are discussed.


School of social sciences colloquium


funeral, Akan lineage, marriage, old age