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Piiiiiii!!! To Wedding or Funeral?

Mon, 19 Nov 2007 Source: GNA

Accra, Nov. 19, GNA - The silence of one Saturday morning in Peki Avetile was broken as vehicle horns reverberated: Piiiiiii!!!!!!! Piiiiiiii!!!!! Piiiiiiiii!!!!

As this writer snooped out he could only see the last vehicle as it negotiated a curve towards the local Evangelical Presbyterian Church it was, therefore, difficult to say whether it was a cortege of a bride or the dead.

The blaring of vehicle horns on Saturdays through major cities in Ghana, towards the Church is commonplace. It is a way of announcing the voyage of departed brethren on the last lap of the journey on this part of the universe into the arms of the Creator but takes a detour to the Church for a memorial service.

It could also be an advertisement of a beautiful bride gracefully cruising to the loving arms of the bridegroom but must also traverse the Cathedral for the solemnization service to obtain the licence to jump into the matrimonial bed.

As the vehicles budge steadily through the principal streets, still blowing the horn piiiiiiiii!!!!! piiiiiiiiii!!!!! piiiiiii!!!, the neighbours, congregation and busybody casual observers would shout out; "dondoooo!!! dondoooo!!!, ayifrow, ayifrow," or the refrain to the dirge - "Buei! Buei!! Buei!!! Eno or Agya mehwe ne mma" would rant the air. Thus many Ghanaians are sometimes torn between going to a funeral and wedding on Saturdays. The extended family system is very strong in our parts of the world and it is considered anti-social behaviour if one failed to attend the funeral or wedding ceremony of a relative or friend. Most of these social engagements are organized at the weekends from Friday through Saturday to Sunday.

As this Writer pondered over the dilemma the echo of inspirational quotations quivered through the serene atmosphere: "Now the labourer's task is over, now the battle day is past, now upon the farther shore lands the voyage at last; Father, in thy gracious keeping; leave us now thy servant sleeping."

"You never know when your time is coming, like a bird suddenly caught in a trap, like fish caught in a net, we are trapped at some evil moment when we least expected it.

"There is a journey awaiting us all, an adventure that's brave and free, on a ship that sails swiftly and surely along, to a harbour our eyes cannot see, there our loved ones enjoy, only peace and content, those who've sailed on, wait for those left behind knowing someday we'll all be together."

Whilst the sound from the other end of town lighten on, the voice of a preacher man echoed; "Dearly beloved, we are gathered together for the solemnization ceremony of our Brother Kwaku Ashong and Sister Ekua Mercy.if any one here present have any just cause why the two cannot be joined together, he or she should say it now or forever remain silent." An expositional tour at the weekend by Ghana News Agency (GNA) revealed the difficulty of most Ghanaians especially politicians, priest, public and civil servants as one might be bound to attend a wedding or a funeral.

Either way the family, friends, the church and the community goes through major transformation for the occasion - send-off for the departed or the initiation into the married couple's fellowship. Preparation towards these great occasions takes months and mostly depends on the financial and social status of the individual or families involved. People have expressed diverse opinions about the cost incurred during these social gatherings. On glamorous wedding, Ms Mercy Asiedu told the GNA; "though it is beautiful, it is most often unnecessary waste of funds that would be needed in marriage it could be invested. "I believe in beautiful but simple wedding. All that is important is the ingredient- legality of the ceremony and most importantly the spiritual implication. Remember the wedding is to honour God," she said. The preparations include face-lifting of the house, selecting special dress as wedding gown or ...

As the funeral family considers printing of posters, cost of a casket, erecting of giant billboards, the wedding family engages themselves with printing of invitation cards, cost of suitcase, engagement Bible etc.

The memorial service mostly divided into three parts; memorial service, burial service at graveyard and thanksgiving service. It is common knowledge that during such services, most churches especially those in the country-side take advantage of the presence of large number of sympathizers from the cities to organize a miniature fund-raising not for the bereaved family or the couple but for a church building project or some form of activities in the church. Ms Asiedu said social engagements drain the accounts of women as "we need new dress, shoes and do new hair-styles for each occasion be it wedding or funeral".

Mrs Diana Newson-Torkornoo also remarked: "Sometimes I have to move in between a wedding and a funeral on the same day at different locations in the city.

Some Ministers of State had had to cut short official visit to Kumasi to come back to Accra to participate in the funeral of a member of the party. The dilemma of whether to attend a wedding or a funeral is unending. Where did you spend the last weekend? 19 Nov. 07

Columnist: GNA