Posted by / Sunday 25 March 2018 / No comments

The negative aspects of widowhood rites in Ghana

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Definition                                                                                                                Widowhood rites refer to the rituals and customs that are performed for a woman when her husband dies.

Sleeping with the dead husband
As part of the ritual, the woman must be left alone with the dead husband in a room all by herself, sometimes overnight.

Use of stone as a pillow
Among some communities in Ghana, the widow is confined for periods between three to six months. Within this period of confinement, the woman is not allowed to a real pillow. She can only use a stone as her pillow until the period of confinement is over.

Swallowing the saliva of the dead husband
As part of the ritual, the widow must swallow the saliva of her dead husband. Refusal to go through this aspect of the ritual is unacceptable.

Putting pepper in the eyes of the woman
The ritualists ground pepper or chilies and put it in the eyes of the woman as part of the ceremonies.

Not to handle cash
The woman is not allowed to handle cash until after 40 days.

Shaking of hands
The widow is not permitted to shake hands with other people. This is because it is believed that when she does, she could transfer bad omen to people she shakes hands with.

Shaving and walking barefoot
Another bad aspect of the widowhood rites is to shave all the hairs of a woman. This includes the hairs on her head and other very personal parts of her body. She is also made to walk bare footed.

Tying of hands and pulling by rope
Sometimes, where the widow is suspected of killing her husband, her hands are tied with a rope and pulled along.

Abstinence from food                                                                                                      From the time the husband dies, the woman is forced to abstain from eating food. This remains so until the husband is buried.
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