Posted by / Tuesday 26 July 2016 / No comments

The importance of funerals

A funeral can be described as a ceremony that is performed to dispose of a dead person through burial or cremation. In most parts of the world, burial ceremonies are organized to bid farewell to the dead. In the Ghanaian traditional system, it is also a way of transitioning into the other world.

Creates unity 
A funeral is an occasion to bring people together. These people come both within and from outside the family. They come together to mourn and say farewell to their dead friend or relative. All the activities that take place during funerals go a long way to bring unity among the people.

Settling of disputes
Funerals are also periods when family members come together to settle disputes among the members of the family. These may be disputes that may have been festering for a long time. Sometimes, if the dispute is likely to affect the organization of the funeral, it is taken care of before the funeral but otherwise, it is settled after the body has been laid to rest.

Social support
In the course of funerals, well-wishers and sympathizers assist the bereaved family financially or in kind. These donations are to help defray part of the expenditure incurred by the family, especially spouses, on the funeral.  Sometimes, these gifts come after the funeral has been concluded, sometimes before and sometimes during the funeral.

Preservation of culture
Funerals portray the culture of people. This is so because during the funeral some traditional practices are engaged in and beliefs exhibited. For instance, during funerals, dirges are sung, libations are poured, greetings are given and received, donations are given and taken, etc. All these activities during funerals help to preserve and subsequently transmit the culture of the society to the next generation.

Sharing of grief
People mourn and sympathize with bereaved families during funerals. Death is a bitter pill for the bereaved family. There is sorrow, the funeral is, therefore, an occasion where friends and relatives have to sympathize and mourn with the bereaved person or family.

Honouring the dead
A funeral ceremony is a way of honouring the dead. Every good about the dead person is espoused, and the occasion is used to give last respect to the dead person. Everything that the dead person achieved in life is recounted and praised when tributes are paid by relatives and friends. This is to encourage the living to lead a good life.

Economic importance
Funerals are occasions to make some cash. People become employed. The coffin maker needs to be consulted and monies paid for one coffin. Food is served at funerals so the caterer must be paid to feed sympathizers. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are purchased and served on a funeral day. Tables and chairs are rented and many other services are rendered to stimulate economic activity.

1. In which five ways are funerals significant in Ghanaian society?
2. Suggest five ways in which funerals can be made less expensive in Ghana.

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