Bride price is a very important ritual among many cultures in Ghana that provides compensation to the father of the bride in order for the groom to ‘’purchase’’ the bride. This compensation can come in the form of money, land or other materials that hold significant value in the specific culture.’’ Bride price (or bride wealth) is most common among polygynous, small-scale, patrilineal societies-especially in sub-Saharan Africa. These cultures value this tradition because it impacts the culture in a number of different ways.
The social impact that bride price provides to a culture varies depending on the culture, the frequency of its practice, and the amount paid to the father of the bride. Typically in Africa, ‘’the higher the education of the girl, the higher the social-economic strata from which she can choose a potential husband and consequently, the higher her bride-price’’. In this case, the increase in bride price is caused by higher education, which increases the value of the bride.
In addition to higher education, bride price is a way of showing respect for the bride and her parents. Many women in these cultures are responsible for providing economic support to the family, so bride price can also be considered ‘’ a compensation for the bride’s family for the loss of her economic services’’. This is very important in each culture so that the woman’s parents are not faced with the additional burden of having to over-compensate for the social and economic impact that their daughter’s marriage will cause.
Finally, bride price is also a way of providing the groom with the right to future children, which is also important so that the man can have a family that will help him work in society. The question is ‘when is a bride price too expensive?
Consider a young graduate who lands his first job and is receiving eight hundred Ghana cedis per month. Take away his transportation, rent, chop money, utility bills, how long can such a young man save to pay an exorbitant bride price? Your guess is as good as mine.
A little research made indicates that most of young educated ready –to-marry Ghanaian young men are afraid of getting married not because they don’t have place to their heads but that bride price these days are too expensive.
They argue the list of items on the bride’s list these days are too many ( you buy something for your and mother-in-law , brothers and sisters-in-law and even grandfathers and grandmothers-in-law_ and very expensive considering the current economic situation in Ghana.
Some men even said that some well-to-do families do charge foreign currency and are particular on the type foreign liquors they accept and so if you are marrying into such a family then you probably need to change your meager free falling Ghana cedis to U.S Dollars or British pound sterling just to land your better half, not to talk about profligate wedding ceremonies which will be dealt with in our next article. Subscribe to our mailing list for more relationship tips.