Have you ever wondered what the reasons for tribal marks are? In Ghana, many ethnic groups see tribal marks as custom with many meanings being read into them.
However, irrespectively of how big, small or deep the scar is, it definitely has a meaning and there is also a reason for it.
The various ethnic groups have different reasons for each tribal mark and this is done whiles one is still a child.
In some cases, though, a tribal mark can still be given to an adult if ‘custom’ requires at a particular point in time.
Here are five reasons why some Ghanaian ethnic groups go in for tribal marks:
1. For decoration
This may sound weird, but some ethnic groups simply put tribal marks on children for aesthetic purposes.
Depending on the type of design a parent wants on the face of his or her child, it will be done accordingly as a form of decoration.
2. For identification
This is one of the main reasons why tribal marks came into being. In Northern Ghana, for instance, it used to be very difficult to trace which tribe a person was coming from.
As a result, tribal marks were introduced with each household being ascribed a unique mark synonymous with only that particular family. That made identification easier.
In the past years legend has it that some children could reincarnate when they die at birth or at younger ages.
Therefore, in the case that a woman gives birth and the child dies on two or three occasions, a tribal mark is given to the next child to indicate that he or she is a slave.
Also, nasty names are given to such children to prevent them from dying or going back to the underworld.
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4. Spiritual purpose
For some tribes, tribal marks have the ability to protect one from spiritual attacks as and when they come. They believe that when a child is marked after birth, it makes him or her unappealing for spirits that want to take them to the underworld.
Concoctions are, therefore, prepared and mixed with other potions to be used for the tribal marks.
5. As medicine
This is general across all tribes in Ghana. Sometimes when a person suffers from a serious disease and decides to seek herbal treatment, the medicine is applied through a tribal mark.
These medicines are believed to have better impacts when applied by marking the face of the sick person and applying it.
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