The Embassy of Mexico in Ghana earlier this week celebrated one of Mexico’s top festivals known as Día De Muertos (Day of the Dead) at the Mexican Embassy in Accra.
The festival, a fusion of prehispanic rituals and Catholic religious rites is celebrated as a holiday in Mexico and beyond to honour life. During the festival, Mexicans visit cemeteries, decorate the graves and spend time there, in the presence of their deceased friends and family members.
In addition, people elaborately decorate altars (called ofrendas) in their homes to welcome their beloved ones. Mexico’s Día De Muertos (Day of the Dead) was recognized by UNESCO as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity in 2008.
The event also witnessed the screening of the Mexican short film, Ramona, Giovanna Zacarías. 2014. Ramona, an 80-year-old peasant, announces that she was about to die. Her son Carmelo asks her for more time to raise the money for the coffin. The news traveled around the town and many people came to bid her farewell and, in passing, gave her messages to their deceased.
Just like Mexico, Ghana has a special approach towards Death and the way to honour our beloved ones. Ghanaian funerals stand out as one of the most important social and cultural elements.
Traditionally, funerals take place on Saturdays. For a Ghanaian funeral, it is traditional for members of the community to wear clothing in black, black and white or red. The black-and-white or red dress code symbolizes giving thanks to God and an end to the initial mourning period.
In recent times, what is becoming most notable about Ghanaian funerals is the creation of fantasy caskets. Professional casket-makers carve and paint elaborate coffins shaped like items that the deceased loved in life. It is a belief that the casket will transport the deceased to the next level of existence. The sky is the limit for imagination and creativity, multiple shapes and colors are available to create fantastic coffins and it serves as a colorful transition for souls.