Along the Gulf of Guinea lies the beautiful West African country of Ghana. Its culture and traditions are rich and vibrant.
The people of Ghana are warm and friendly. They are polite, open and trusting — even with strangers. In Ghanaian society, it is traditional to take life at a relaxed pace and view time as a series of events rather than a matter of hours or minutes.
In Ghanaian society, people are more important than schedules.
Most Ghanaians consider “let’s get to business” conversation rude. It is custom for Ghanaians to exchange pleasantries and ask about family before beginning business. They greet one another, making extra effort to greet older people. With the men, handshakes almost always accompany greetings.
Ghana’s 24 million people include six major ethnic groups that break into more than 60 smaller ones.
The six larger groups are the Akan (Ashanti and Fanti), the Ewe, the Ga-Adangbe, the Mole-Dagbani, the Guan and the Gruma. Like most other African nations, Ghana has rich, traditional cultures that differ from one ethnic group to another.
Along with different ethnic groups and cultures, 52 separate languages and hundreds of dialects are spoken in Ghana. The official language is English — a residual of British colonial rule, from which modern Ghana gained independence in 1957.
Until its independence, Ghana was known as the Gold Coast. It was renamed Ghana, meaning “Warrior King,” to reflect the ancient Ghana Empire that flourished in West Africa during the 10th century.
Today, the Ghanaian government is a unitary republic consisting of a president, parliament, cabinet, council of state and an independent judiciary. It is tradition to hold elections every four years. The government administration operates out of the central business district of Accra, the country’s capital city. As the country’s largest city, Accra has a population of roughly 2.4 million.
Ghanaians emphasize values such as the importance of family, respect for the elderly and honor for traditional rulers.
They place high value on dignity and proper social conduct. Individual conduct is seen as having impact on an entire family, social group and community. Therefore, each person is expected to be respectful, dignified and observant in nearly every aspect of life.
An entire family shares any loss of honor, which makes the culture a collective one. Protecting this sense of “face” requires harmony. People behave with decorum to ensure they don’t cause embarrassment to others.
Everything is shared — even food, no matter how small the amount.
If a Ghanaian gets interrupted while eating, he invites the other to join him. Depending on the level of familiarity, the person may wash his hands and join in. If the relationship is casual, it is tradition for the other person to politely decline.
Among common greetings and responses in Ghana are:
- Maakye — Good morning
- Maaha — Good afternoon
- Maadwo — Good evening
- Wohu te sen? — How are you?
- Onyame na adom me hu ye — By the Grace of God, I am fine
- Me daase — Thank you
- Kusee — Sorry
- Me paa wo kyeo (“ky” sounds “ch” as it would sound in “chain”) — Please
When talking to an older person, a Ghanaian must not gesture with the left hand. In fact, anything done with the left hand is considered rude. Nevertheless, some people write or do things with the left hand because that hand is stronger than the right. It is traditional to never use the left hand to eat or gesture, however.
Ghanaians are indirect communicators. They take care not to relay information in any way that could cause issues. This includes delivering bad news, turning down an invitation or refusing a request. Ghanaians want to protect face as well as maintain harmonious relationships throughout society.
Ghana is often described as a land of festivals, music and traditional dances.
It is custom for most communities, clans and tribes to have annual celebrations.
There are three main types of music in Ghana. Ethnic, or traditional, music is usually played during festivals and funerals. Highlife music blends traditional and imported music. Choral music is performed in concert halls, churches, schools and colleges.
Children registered at some of the Compassion-assisted child development centers in Ghana have formed choirs. One such choir is the Kasoa Cluster Mass Choir.
It is a tradition for children at our child development centers to welcome visitors and sponsors with elaborate drumming and dancing. This is an expression of appreciation and Ghanaian hospitality and culture.
Along with taking their own customs and traditions seriously, Ghanaians easily understand and adopt other cultures and practices. This makes Ghana a comfortable society for everyone to live in and an easy African country for outsiders to visit.
28 Comments |Add a comment
You really did a good job on reviwing my country good jod aand good bless you bey
Ghana is a country of peace, friendly and courageous.
Your place look so good and peaceful and your food.
Wonderful read, may God cause the writer of this piece to enter doors of unmerited favor in Jesus name
I can’t wait to meet my partner in Ghana for the first time we are so blessed ? thank you to Our Great God Our Creator ??❤️❤️
I will love to be in Ghana for an holiday nice country, I love ghana
who is the author
Hello there! The author of this blog is named Vera. She is a photojournalist in Compassion Ghana. 🙂
Excellent brief about Ghanaian culture. That’s so amazing. The people of Ghana are so good to be with. They have unique culture that accept everyone.
If i had to introduce a person to Ghana at a glance. This is it
This is really so amazing the culture and everything is so beautiful.
I really like your post. Thank you for sharing. With the common greetings that you shared, I will humbly suggest that you add the language and people that speak them to enlighten people more. Because those greetings are not said all across the country.
Hello Ishmael, thank you so much for your feedback. I have passed it along to our team to look into other languages. We appreciate you and you have a blessed day! ?
It’s a beautiful country for holidays as the people are responsible warm and respectful
Ghana is such a friendly place
i have 50% of ghana dna and to be onest i am just 10 but my uncel who is frome ghana came to see me it was a long ride he said but i still thout his flight was delad anways i no that pepole frome ghana are specel they are so kine and one day when i was 4 i went to go visit and no trash anywher it was like heven.
ghana is the best place if you would like to learn culture and foods and more
Ghana is a country with lots of friendly and welcoming people
African culture is so rich that you can not but love it. Ghana, Nigeria are just but a few countries that have a special heritage that is unique. I love being African
I visited my sponsored child last April and I can tell you how friendly and welcoming all the CI staff I met. I had a wonderful touring the country and all the people I met were all nice and kind.
I just got back my Ancestry DNA, and I am 94% African with most percentage in Ghana. I would like to know as much as I can about my culture to embrace it. Reading this article explains so much as to who I am and now explains my warm spirit as I have been told.
In God everything are possible so day will surely get their sponsors
what christmas traditions and celbrations do yall do?cause my class is doing a project on yall country and we can’t find any information.THANK YOU
I just got back from a 2 week short term mission in Ghana. It is a beautiful country with beautiful people. They do love the lord and there is a great need there. Thanks Compassion for highlighting this great country. Three days after I left the President passed away and there was a peaceful change of power within 30 min. This was a great model for the rest of Africa.
I used to go on ships from Ghana with my dad during the Seventies. We would share the Gospel and many sailors from Ghana came to know Christ as Saviour……
wauw amazing welcome to the kingdom of GOD my brother
Good read, I really enjoyed it. It reminded me of my childhood there, which I miss very much :(. I’m laughing about the left hand gestures, I was left handed so anytime I would try to grab or greet an elderly person, they would smack my left hand away.
The people are indeed very nice and friendly, I would encourage anyone to take a trip there if they can.
Thank you so much for a beautiful picture of this wonderful country. Many ‘first world’ countries could learn a thing or two…..