“If you die a bad death, we give you a bad burial:” Mortuary practices and “bad death” among the Akan in Ghana

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Abstract

This article describes features of bad deaths and their associated mortuary rituals among the Akan of Ghana. Data were obtained through semi-structured interviews with 30 Akan cultural experts. In Akan culture, bad deaths are associated with brief, perfunctory mortuary rituals. There is no washing, keeping of wake over the body, nor any presentation of grave goods, and no bidding of farewell to the decedent. Every effort is made to expunge the decedent from the memories of the lineage. Contravening prescribed customary rites for bad deaths is believed to cause disasters for the lineage, including recurrent bad deaths.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-707
Number of pages13
JournalDeath Studies
Volume46
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

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