By: Jared Skoro
Funerals all over the world are regarded as passage rites but, these rites and how they are carried out vary across cultures.
Although a former colony of Great Britain, Ghanaians have a different meaning of funerals as compared to the British.
Looking at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, one may see many differences and profound similarities to that of Ghanaian royalty.
The Queen’s funeral was restrained and solemn. Leaders from across the world arrived with little ceremony to observe it.
In Westminster Abbey, hymns were sung by the choir with the audience allowed to participate in a few. The procession toward her burial place, first by foot then by hearse, had slow mournful music with the Queen’s family walking behind her coffin—their heads kept straight ahead their faces stoic; they and the crowd silent.
A lone bagpiper ended the event with a lament he once played to the Queen every morning.
In comparison, funerals of Ghanaian royalty like that of the Omanhene of Techiman in 2003 are as much a celebration as a time of mourning.
His life was memorialized with the giving of gifts, dances, and an animal sacrifice. Important men like Jerry Rawlings and Amanhene from across Ghana openly participated, making big gestures in grand ceremonies to honour his passing.
In the procession, mourners danced the Adabo to the energetic beating of drums, singing, and gunshots before transitioning to a formal military march as the Omanhene’s coffin was brought to the hearse that would take him to his final resting place.
Open emotions like crying and shouting were encouraged.
For both, a military honor guard accompanied their coffins which were draped with their respective flags and symbols of power on top.
The mourners wore black and speeches by the family were made.
Cultural traditions were celebrated and upheld, enforcing the transfer of power to the next generation.