All over the world when someone dies there are customs and procedures that follow. Most times the family of the deceased person meet and decide on how to have the funeral, which is a ceremony to honour the life of a person when they pass away. Funerals most often have a dress code, of black. In parts of Africa, particularly Ghana. Funeral clothing doesn’t just end at the colour. There are certain prints and fabrics specifically designed for funerals. In the Akan language, Twi it’s called Eyie ntomaa which directly translates into funeral cloth. Funeral cloths in Ghana play a very important role.
Funeral cloths in Ghana are mostly made of cotton but there are also polyester, silk and velvet options. For many tribes particularly in the middle and southern part of Ghana, the family of the deceased selects a particular pattern of cloth for the funeral. This is to show solidarity and also help other people who attend the funeral to easily identify close family and friends of the deceased.
The selection of the cloth is not only made based on the beauty of the fabric but also the message it carries. Many funeral cloths in Ghana have names and meanings that can sometimes be seen at the hem of the fabric. Some popular funeral cloth names are Owuo sei fie (Death destroys homes), Wiase ben enie (what sort of life is this), Yen Adeɛ Kɛseɛ Bi Afriyensa (we have lost something big) among others.
The most popular colours for funeral cloths are black, black and red as well as black and white. Most tribes have the funeral rites and rituals done wearing darker colours (black or black and red) and on Sunday wear a brighter colour (black and white) to celebrate the life of the deceased and give thanks for a successful funeral.
The styles these funeral cloths are sewed in are completely left to the discretion of the individual. For women, the most popular style for funerals is a kaba and slit or a dress. Men, often wear a shirt with plain trousers or wrap the fabric with shorts underneath.