Bajans Celebrate Life & Death In Song And Dance

  • 24

Since Africans have landed here in Barbados we have had funeral traditions that have stood the test of time for decades, even centuries. But our traditions are vastly different from those in other countries and cultures. The video below is of a woman who wanted her memories to be remembered in joy and happiness.



I can remember a funeral where a lady was celebrated and remembered on her motorcycle, now a few days ago another was celebrated in song and dance, based on what I heard she was a lady full of life and wanted this, no weeping and morning only celebration of a lady gone to another place waiting for her family and friends, by all accounts it was a great send off and we need more of this.



People are afraid to step into the unknown when it comes to funerals but we live in a changing world.

Rather than expressing sorrow, Ghanaian funerals are a time to celebrate the life of the deceased. The funeral is a large social gathering where the phrase “the more the merrier” perfectly fits, as there could be as many as hundreds of funeral attendees, and everyone usually wears red or black clothing to symbolize their grief. Colorful billboard displays are made to notify everyone about the funeral.

Music and Dance

A Ghanaian funeral is essentially a party celebrating the deceased’s life through music and dancing. The music is typically a Ghanaian mix of jazz, brass bands, and African rhythms; and it’s common for photographs to be taken of funeral attendees dancing and celebrating the deceased’s life. There’s usually food and drinks served, as well.

However, before the celebration begins, there’s usually a funeral ceremony with religious blessings and tribute speeches. According to the 2010 census, the most common religion of Ghana is Christianity with 71.2% of the population followed by Muslim with 17.6%, so the ceremony usually follows Christian customs.


Unique Coffins

Ghana is known for their extravagant coffins in the shape of unique objects, such as a lion, shoe, or chili pepper. The personalized coffins are made to reflect favorite interests and passions of the deceased, like this fish-shaped coffin for a popular Ghana fisherman.

Paa Joe is one of Ghana’s most famous coffin artists with five decades of experience in the funeral profession. He first became interested in designing coffins as a teenager and his first coffin was carved as the shape of a building for a real estate developer. Since then, he’s made a variety of fantasy coffins shaped like animals, cars, boats, shoes, cameras, phones, and many other significant objects. Check out this article for more Ghanaian coffin designs, including coffins by Paa Joe.

If you or someone you know is looking for a unique coffin read this article about a bajan man doing it here.

We here at Obit Moments would love to get in contact with her family.


  • 24