Expensive Funerals; a major contributor to today’s hardship

It is common to hear Ghanaians complaining of hard times and “lack” of money in their pockets and their inability to raise funds to engage in viable ventures.
Surprisingly, people are so quick to raise funds to perform expensive funerals, many of which do not yield any money in return.
In recent time, the craze of performing expensive funerals has hit many communities in the Upper East Region, as people who hitherto did not know where to raise funds for business, can suddenly raise and spend thousands of Ghana Cedis just to perform the funeral of a departed relation.
Usually the aim is to march up to the magnitude of funerals that others have performed, to gain an impressive social status and bid a befitting farewell to a love one. Unfortunately many of these investments do not yield financial returns.
In the past, funerals were performed just to bid farewell to the departed and usher him or her out of this world into the spiritual world. It was not to glorify the living and to boast their social status as we have it today.
This new trend has necessitated the high cost of funerals, where people spend lavishly on the dead to the detriment of poor and needy members of the same bereaved family.
This influence has gained grounds as poor families would prefer to face a huge debt than to risk a social disgrace due to a poorly performed funeral.
To understand why funerals are tagged as major contributors to today’s poverty, Akanpire Godwin, an Opinion Leader, Educationist is of such view that funerals are now performed for the living not for the dead.
According to him, the original function of funeral as passage rite has changed into a profane and profligate celebration of the living.
“Funerals are now parties as visitors and mourners will eat and drink a lot. A least, one can spend GHc5,000.00 on a funeral regardless of one’s family background; rich or poor.  Sometimes a family would prefer to face a huge debt than risk a social disgrace due to poorly performed funeral.” He said.
His view buttresses public claim that, modern day funerals in Ghana are mainly differentiated by the amount of money a family spent on the rite.
People have started complaining about the effect of expensive funerals on their finances and yet are stuck, since society has not changed its view and rating of people who perform extravagant funerals and those who do not.
Maybe, until society changes its view and rating of people by the funerals they perform and chiefs and opinion leaders insist on “smaller” funerals people will have to live with the consequences of expensive funerals.
Perhaps, people living today and feeling the pinch of expensive funerals will have to start giving directives that they want moderate funerals to be performed for them when they die.
Source: | Moses Apiah | Ghana

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