Ceremonies like funerals, birthdays, religious holidays are celebrated worldwide and can take a very different form depending on the region you’re in. The way funerals are celebrated in Ghana, specifically the aspect of attire, is examined by Berlin-based costume designer Lisa Meier, together with Ghanaian historian Irene Odotei, in Funeral Fashion in Ghana, published by Edition Patrick Frey. Over the course of several trips, Meier traveled around Ghana to document the various fashions that are seen all over the country on weekends.
What is immediately clear from the colorful clothing is that an element of celebration that is lacking in traditional Western funeral dress, which rarely veers from black and somber at what is usually experienced as a tragic event. In Ghana, the clothing can be but is not restricted to black, and, strangers are welcome at many funerals, which are seen as social events. Even the coffins are more festive as some are buried in “fantasy coffins,” which represent something the deceased loved in life. All told, Meier and Odotei’s book is an insightful examination of the particularities of a tradition and culture in one country, and it serves overall as an important reminder many valid and interesting ways to express similar emotions exist worldwide.
All photographs from Funeral Fashion in Ghana © Lisa Meier and courtesy Edition Patrick Frey.