“We Will All Go, But What We All Seek Is Good Death”: Cultural Notions of Good Death And Related Mortuary Rituals Among the Akan of Ghana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Thanatologists who have researched mortuary beliefs and practices from around the world posit that many societies differentiate between good and bad deaths. The current study utilized in-depth interviews with 30 Akan culture experts to investigate what the Akan ethnic group of Ghana considers to be good death. The results show that Akan good death is natural harmonious death that occurs at advanced age. The deceased would also have experienced a meaningful life devoid of immorality or turpitude. While the bodies of decedents of Akan bad deaths are interred without much ceremony, good deaths are associated with elaborate burial rites and funerary obsequies that serve to honor the decedent. Findings show that Akans generally aspire to achieve a good death, be granted solemn burial rites, and to receive a fitting funerary celebration that would launch them on a journey to join ancestral kin in the hereafter.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOmega (United States)
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • akans of ghana
  • bad death
  • good death
  • mortuary rites
  • thanatology

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