The Buoyant Funeral Economy in Ghana

Death is an inevitable phenomenon that is bound to happen to everyone at a particular point in time in a person’s life. When such a time comes, a funeral rite is performed in memory of the deceased to bid him/her farewell as he/she transitions to the ancestorial world. 

Funeral rites among the Akan folks, most especially the Asantes, is an occasion they do not belittle. Saturdays and Thursdays are customary days mostly set aside for holding funeral rites among most ethnic groups in Ghana.

Funeral arrangements made from the day the person dies until his/her burial and final funeral rites is one which is costly. In an instance where the deceased is a great persona or influential in society, the cost of such a person’s funeral rites is a million dollars. The cost of preserving the corpse at the morgue, publicity and announcement, burial accessories (wreath, casket, deceased costume and decor,), feeding (food and drinks), rentals (canopies, ambulances, chairs, sound systems), funeral costume, accommodation and several others, is one which makes funeral rites expensive and business expertise than the rationale of it being a memorial ceremony to bid a deceased farewell.

Funeral rites have turned out to be a time to show off society. Some families of a deceased can preserve the mortal remains at the morgue for so long all at a huge cost. Others spend colossal sums of money on radio, TV, and newspaper publicity. Giant billboards are sometimes raised at the heart of cities and central business districts and many posters which come at huge prices are all budgeted prior to a deceased’s funeral rites. Not to mention the high cost of funeral costumes, feeding and burial accessories.

Some families choose to print special funeral clothes during some funeral rites, and the cost of these attire is mind-blowing and jaw-dropping. The deceased is mostly adored with some special and expensive costumes like Kente, three-piece suits, golden and silver jewels for burial. The choice and cost of a casket for burial is also another thing to talk about.

Funeral rites have turned out to be a feasting period where sympathizers come to satisfy their hunger and quench their thirst. It is a time when all kinds of meals and beverages are served. In fact, no one comes and goes empty-handed or without eating to their satisfaction and taking excess home.

Funeral is now a lucrative business enterprise in Ghana, mostly among folks in the Ashanti region. People have made the sales of funeral accessories such as casket, funeral clothes, wreathes, and several others their bigtime business. Funeral contractors, professional mourners and morticians who only offer their services during funeral occasions are also cashing out hugely from the buoyant funeral economy. The cost of funeral rites in Ghana is increasingly becoming expensive, and also a cash cow for families. Must the government consider the buoyant funeral economy as a conduit for generating revenues for development?

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