Suicide and Mortuary Beliefs and Practices of the Akan of Ghana

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Abstract

Akan society has traditionally held a negative and condemnatory view of suicide. Evidence of this is reflected in the lack of public mourning, brevity of the grieving period, and denial of proper burial rites and funeral obsequies for the suicide. Furthermore, because suicide is regarded as an abomination against the living, the departed ancestors, as well as the gods of the land, the political authorities of the land must be notified immediately of suicide deaths so that proper placatory and propitiation rituals can be undertaken to forestall any catastrophic diseases, accidents, and natural disasters. Given the current paucity of scholarship on the issue, it is the purpose of this article to explore in depth traditional Akan mortuary beliefs and practices governing suicidal death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-163
Number of pages26
JournalOmega (United States)
Volume74
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

Keywords

  • Ghana
  • bad death
  • good death
  • mortuary rites
  • suicide

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