Thursday, November 7, 2013

Halloween: A Ghanaian perspective

Ghana is a country with diverse cultures which vary depending on the geographic location. This stems from the differences in languages or dialects spoken. As a result some cultures have some common features that cut across.

The country's culture system is flexible and adopts other cultural practices from different parts of the world, such as Western countries. Generally, Ghanaians always want to have a good time and
this seems to be a large part of Halloween!

Halloween is a holiday celebrated annually on the 31st of October and some people hold Halloween parties on or around this date. The hosts and guests often dress up as skeletons, ghosts or other scary figures. Common symbols of Halloween include pumpkins, bats and spiders.

Halloween has its origins in Pagan festivals held around the end of October in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. People believed that the spirits of dead people could come 'alive' and walk among the living at this time of year. They thought that it was important to dress up in costumes when venturing outside in order to avoid being harmed by the spirits. This may be the origin of the Halloween costumes seen today. In Puritan times, Halloween celebrations were outlawed, but they were revived in later times.

Halloween is a new concept in Ghana but one that is beginning to become popular, partly due to celebrities from the Ghanaian music and movie industries. For example, Juliet Ibrahim, a Ghanaian actress, promoted the concept of Halloween by hosting her own Halloween party in Accra this year.

Bolgatanga witnessed its fair share of Halloween this year courtesy of the volunteers from International Service UK who hosted a Halloween party at their residence. Everyone got in the Halloween spirit and managed to create some ingenious costumes out of local materials.

However, Halloween has received criticism from some Ghanaians because of its content and its foreign origin. On a personal note, irrespective of the numerous criticisms, I believe that Halloween is
here to stay. It's another reason to have a party with friends and family, and I think that, with time, more people will begin to celebrate it on a larger scale.

By Conrad 

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