Ghanaian culture is a complex amalgamation of several distinct ethnic groups’ customs and beliefs.
Food and drink
Most Ghanaian soups are made with vegetables, meat, poultry, or fish, and Ghanaian cuisine and gastronomy feature a variety of soups and stews with various seafoods. Fish plays a significant role in Ghanaian cuisine, with tilapia, roasted and fried whitebait, smoked fish, and crayfish all appearing on menus.
Banku is a Ghanaian starchy dish made from ground corn (maize), and cornmeal-based staples such as dokonu (kenkey) and banku are often served with fried fish (chinam) or grilled tilapia, as well as a highly spicy condiment prepared from raw red and green chillies, onions, and tomatoes (pepper sauce). Most Ghanaian eateries offer banku and tilapia together. In that it is a delicacy throughout the African diaspora, fufu is the most often exported Ghanaian food.
Ghana’s national literary radio show, Voices of Ghana, and associated magazine were among the first on the African continent. Novelists J. E. Casely Hayford, Ayi Kwei Armah, and Nii Ayikwei Parkes among the most well-known Ghanaian writers, with works such as Ethiopia Unbound (1911), The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born (1968), and Tail of the Blue Bird (2009) gaining worldwide recognition. Other literary arts, like as Ghanaian theatre and poetry, have also benefited from strong national growth and support, thanks to renowned Ghanaian playwrights and poets Joe de Graft and Efua Sutherland.
Ghanaians created their distinctive technique of adinkra printing in the 13th century. The then-Ghanaian monarch wore hand-printed and hand-embroidered adinkra garments solely for religious rituals. Each of the motifs in the adinkra symbolism corpus has a name and meaning drawn from a proverb, a historical event, a human attitude, ethology, a plant life form, or the forms of inanimate and man-made things. Graphically, they are represented in stylized geometric forms. The motifs’ meanings may be divided into four categories: aesthetics, ethics, human connections, and ideas.
The Adinkra symbols are used as tattoos for decoration, but they also symbolize things that contain powerful ideas about ancient knowledge, life, and the environment. There are a variety of symbols with various meanings that are often associated with proverbs. They were one of the methods in a pre-literate culture for “sustaining the transmission of a rich and nuanced corpus of practice and belief,” according to Anthony Appiah.
Ghanaians utilize a variety of textile materials for their traditional clothing, in addition to the Adinkra cloth. The many ethnic groups each have their unique fabric. The Kente cloth is the most well-known. Kente is a traditional and contemporary Ghanaian Kente outfit.
Different symbols and colors denote different meanings. Kente is the most well-known of all Ghanaian fabrics. Kente is a ceremonial fabric made by weaving strips of approximately 4 inches wide on a horizontal treadle loom and sewing them together to make bigger textiles. Clothes exist in a variety of colors, sizes, and patterns, and they are worn for special social and religious events.
Kente is more than simply a fabric in a cultural setting; it is a visual depiction of history as well as a kind of written language via weaving. The term kente comes from the Akan word kntn, which means basket, and the earliest kente weavers used raffia fibers to weave cloths that resembled kenten (a basket), earning them the nickname kenten ntoma, or basket cloth. The fabric’s original Akan name was nsaduaso or nwontoma, which meant “a cloth handwoven on a loom,” but “kente” is now the most often used word.
Ghanaian fashion now combines traditional and contemporary designs and materials, and it has left its mark on the African and worldwide fashion scenes. It is said that in the late 1800s, Dutch ships on their route to Asia loaded with machine-made textiles that resembled Indonesian Batik stopped in several West African ports along the road, resulting in the creation of African print fabric. In Asia, the textiles did not sell well. However, in West Africa, particularly Ghana, where a market for cloths and textiles had already developed, the clientele expanded, and the product was altered to incorporate local and traditional designs, colors, and patterns to appeal to the tastes of the new customers. It is now known as “Ankara” outside of Africa, and it has a clientele that extends well beyond Ghana and Africa as a whole. It’s extremely popular among Caribbean people and African Americans, and celebrities like Solange Knowles and her sister Beyoncé have been spotted wearing it. African prints are increasingly being used by many European and American designers, and they have sparked global attention. Burberry, a British luxury fashion company, developed a line inspired by Ghanaian attire. Gwen Stefani, an American singer, has integrated African patterns into her clothing line on many occasions and is often spotted wearing it. In his 2012 collection, internationally renowned Ghanaian-British designer Ozwald Boateng included African print suits.
Music and dance
Ghanaian music is varied and differs according to ethnic groups and locations. Talking drum groups, Akan drum, goje fiddle and koloko lute, court music, including the Akan Seperewa, Akan atumpan, Ga kpanlogo styles, and log xylophones used in asonko music are all examples of Ghanaian music. The most well-known genres to have originated in Ghana include African jazz, which was developed by Ghanaian musician Kofi Ghanaba, and highlife, which is the country’s oldest form of secular music. Highlife began in the late 19th century and expanded across West Africa in the early 20th century. Youth developed a new type of music in the 1990s, combining elements from highlife, Afro-reggae, dancehall, and hiphop. Hiplife was the name given to this hybrid. International success has been achieved by Ghanaian musicians such as “Afro Roots” singer, activist, and composer Rocky Dawuni, R&B and soul singer Rhian Benson, and Sarkodie. Rocky Dawuni became the first Ghanaian artist to be nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Reggae Album category in December 2015 for his 6th studio album, Branches of The Same Tree, which was released on March 31, 2015.
Ghanaian dance is as varied as the country’s music, including traditional dances as well as dances for specific events. Ghanaian dances for festivities are the most well-known. The Adowa, Kpanlogo, Azonto, Klama, and Bamaya are among these dances.