The Ashanti people are a very industrious people who live in the middle of Ghana, West Africa. Originally, Ghana was known as the gold coast, and the Ashanti are famous for their wealth of gold. The Ashanti were the first to develop bark cloth, before cotton fabrics became widespread. When cloth weaving was introduced patterns in the cloth had special significance. Social status, a clan, a saying, or other significant messages were represented by the different patterns.
The Ashanti hold to an ancestor belief system, with the idea that there is a soul in every living thing, and also the belief in lower and higher powers. The family lives in various homes or huts that are set up around a courtyard. The head of the household is usually the oldest brother that lives there. He is chosen by the elders. He is called either Father or Housefather and is obeyed by everyone.
Boys are trained by their fathers at the age of eight and nine. They are taught a skill of the fathers’ choice. The father is also responsible for paying for school. Boys are taught to use the talking drums by their mothers’ brother. Talking drums are used for learning the Ashanti language and spreading news and are also used in ceremonies. The talking drums are important to the Ashanti and there are very important rituals involved in them. Girls are taught cooking and housekeeping skills by their mothers. They also work the fields and bring in necessary items, such as water, for the group.
Marriage is very important to Ashanti communal life and it can be polygamous. Men may want more than one wife to express their willingness to be generous and support a large family. Women in the Ashanti culture will not marry without the consent of their parents. Many women do not meet their husbands until they are married. Even so, divorce is very rare in the Ashanti culture and it is a duty of parents on both sides to keep a marriage going.
This is the land of glory, gold and God. The country is 70% Christian and they are obsessed with spiritual worship. But thats not to say that they can’t have any fun. Ghanaians will find any excuse to dance, and even the most sedate boat rides can turn into a massive party as young men and old grannies gyrate their hips to the musical fusion genres of highlife and hiplife. The latter is a more recent invention that takes a page from the American hip-hop scene. Ghana is a very artistic country and produces much of the African art that finds its way all over the world. Ghana has a rich artistic heritage. Objects are created not only for their aesthetic value but as symbols of ethnic identity or to commemorate historical or legendary events, to convey cultural values or to signify membership of a group.
The Akan people of the southern and central regions are famous for their cloth, gold work, woodcarvings, pottery and bead-making. Maybe the most famous and arguably the most important Ghanaian is Otunfu Osei II, the king of the Ashanti. Hes considered at least as influential as the president, in part because he rules with no term limits and because of his relative youth; hes only in his 50s. Some Ghanaians living abroad send remittances to the king, some money comes from allowances paid by the government, and some of his wealth comes from taxes or tributes given by the people themselves.