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knocking ceremony in ghana

All you need to know about the knocking ceremony in Ghana.

The knocking ceremony in Ghana is a special ceremony performed to unite the couple and their families in marriage. Depending on where you are coming from in Ghana, the knocking ceremony is performed differently but they all have the primary aim of uniting two families. The white wedding without the knocking ceremony is not considered a complete marriage in many parts of Ghana. In fact, many argue that the knocking ceremony is the actual marriage so if a man performs the knocking rights without taking the lady to the alter, it is still considered a marriage ceremony.

Of course, you will need to register the marriage at the Registrar General’s Department if you want the marriage to be legal and binding by the law of Ghana.

What is “Knocking” in marriage?

The knocking ceremony is actually called “Knocking on the door”. It is likened to a situation where one knocks on a door in order to be given an invitation to enter. In this case, a man is knocking on the family door of his bride-to-be. The purpose of this ceremony is for the man, accompanied by representatives from his family, to make known his intention of marrying a woman he has found.

In some cultures, both Ghanaian and African, it is sometimes flipped the other way round where the woman is to perform the knocking ceremony. Weird right?

The day of the knocking ceremony

knocking ceremony in Ghana

A date is set by both families for the knocking ceremony. The man and his family arrive at the woman’s house bearing gifts – usually drinks. Although the process varies from one tribe to another, there are some common things one will see on the knocking list in Ghana.

A spokesperson from the man’s family informs the woman’s family of the intention of the man to marry their daughter. At this point, the man is not allowed to speak for himself. Whilst this is going on, the woman is not present in the room.

She is later summoned and asked if she accepts to marry the man. If she replies in the affirmative, both families start preparing for the customary marriage ceremony which is popularly known as the Engagement.

Refreshments are then shared to bring the ceremony to a successful end.

The engagement list, which is also known as the marriage list or knocking list, is also presented to the man and his family. The Ewes, Gas, Akans and other tribes in Ghana all have specifications when it comes to the engagement or traditional marriage list. This is a sample of the Akan engagement list.

Akan traditional marriage list

  1. The dowry/bride price.
  2. Head drink, usually whiskey or wine
  3. A new suitcase containing shoes, lady wears, headpieces and other necessities the bride would need.
  4. A bottle of whiskey and money for the father of the bride.
  5. A pair of sandals and money for the mother of the bride.
  6. At least six pieces or African print wax clothes for the bride.
  7. Money for the bride to start a business.
  8. An engagement ring.
  9. An engagement Bible
  10. Money for the bride’s brothers (akonta sikan). If the bride doesn’t have brothers, it goes to her male cousins.
  11. Cooking utensils
  12. Jewellery for the bride
  13. Food and drinks for the guests who will be present at the marriage ceremony.

Purpose of the Knocking ceremony in Ghana

It is believed that the marriage of two people is actually a union between two families, hence both families are involved right from the beginning. It enables families to get acquainted with each other and build a lasting relationship. It is almost impossible to marry a ‘traditional’ Ghanaian lady without performing the knocking rights.

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We hope that this guide on the knocking ceremony in Ghana was helpful. If you are in search of anything on the knocking list to purchase then this link can help you out.

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