Knocking ceremony in Ghana explained: Everything you should know

Knocking ceremony in Ghana explained: Everything you should know

Marriage is symbolic and a respected institution in every nation and culture. However, each nation has its perspectives and method of performing its marriage rite or ceremony. In Ghana, for instance, marriage is a complex affair because of the various rites, and the knocking ceremony is one of them. Nevertheless, this does not mean that the knocking ceremony in Ghana is not an interesting event when done properly.

Knocking ceremony in Ghana
Knocking ceremony in Ghana. Photo: @pleasuresmagNG
Source: Twitter

To advance a man's relationship to the next level (marriage) with the woman he is in love with, the knocking ceremony must be performed. It is a long-term tradition that must be fulfilled due to its great significance. Among other things, this notable event is a symbol of respect in unifying two families.

What is knocking of door in marriage?

Knocking on the door is a Ghanaian terminology, and it's locally called "kookoo ko." This is the first stage before conducting a traditional marriage in the country. When conducting this ceremony, both families of the man and woman get to know themselves better.

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The man's family goes to the woman's family and presents gifts, money, and other valuable materials. This part of traditional marriage in Ghana is needed for the man to officially make known his intention of marrying the woman he has found.

How is knocking ceremony done in Ghana?

The inspiration behind the knocking on the door can be traced to the age-long tradition of knocking on the door of one's neighbour or friend's door. If invited, the person goes inside and expresses the purpose of visitation.

Before the knocking ceremony, both families must have set a date, time, and location (usually the woman's father's compound). The man and his family arrive on the set date with gifts, money, drinks, and other valuable materials for the occasion.

A spokesperson is appointed from the man's family to represent them as the man is not permitted to speak directly. The man's family would be asked for their purpose of visit, and the spokesperson will reply to the woman's family about the reason why they came.

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Knocking ceremony in Ghana
A couple having a moment together after their traditional wedding ceremony. Photo: @BelloMaBello (modified by author)
Source: Twitter

After the intention is made known, the drinks, gifts, and herbs (kola nuts) are presented to the woman's family. If they are accepted, it means the man's family is welcome and well-received.

During the whole process of exchanging pleasantries and gifts, the woman intending for marriage is not present in the room or house. Instead, she is in a separate location performing other duties such as making up or dressing. She will be invited by her family and asked if she knows the man who wants to marry her.

More so, she would be asked if she wants to marry the man. If her reply is yes, she knows him, and she is ready to marry him, both families proceed to proper planning and discussion of other marital rites that must be fulfilled before or at the traditional wedding. This stage is known as engagement because both families are properly aware of their children's intentions.

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Items needed for knocking ceremony in Ghana

As earlier stated, the man's family must not come empty-handed for the occasion of the knocking ceremony. The groom's family should come with local gin items such as Schnapp and drinks, kola nuts, money, and other necessary items for the occasion. It is important to note that different tribes have their specific requirements for the knocking ceremony.

For example, some tribes may require a knocking fee or present a knocking list in Ghana, while others may not require any fee for the ceremony. However, it is wise to make necessary inquiries before the day of the knocking ceremony.

At the event, the marriage list will be presented. As stated, every tribe has their differences in terms of what they need, but the following items are found majorly in the list:

  • The price of the dowry
  • Drink for prayer to the head of the house. The drink can either be Schnapp, whiskey, or other local drink
  • Six pieces of 6-yards wax materials and other materials
  • Bride's family gets some sum of money and local drink
  • Money for the bride’s brothers (akonta sikan). If the bride doesn’t have brothers, it goes to her male cousins

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Note that some tribes may require the presentation of an engagement ring and Bible. In Akan, for instance, the marriage list may also contain items like the following:

Knocking ceremony in Ghana
Couple. Photo: @Ghanasunshin
Source: Twitter
  • A new suitcase containing shoes, lady wears, headpieces and other necessities the bride would need
  • A pair of sandals and money for the mother of the bride
  • Cooking utensils
  • Jewelry for the bride
  • Money for the bride to start a business

Nevertheless, after the man's family has received the woman's family's list, refreshments (rice, drinks, and other food items) will be served to everyone in attendance.

Who pays for the wedding in Ghana?

Modernization has changed a few things compared to what was obtainable in the past. While the bride's parents saddle certain responsibilities, the groom is not left out as there are specific obligations that he has to carry out.

For instance, the bride's family may pay for the entire ceremony, but the legal requirements are the groom's responsibility. It is up to him to pay for the officiant's fees and the marriage license since he is revered as the home's head.

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More so, the bride’s family handled the invites in the past as they want to make a good impression on the guests, but today, most couples handle that. They choose to print their invite cards and give their parents’ names prominence.

The knocking ceremony in Ghana is an interesting event that intending couples and their loved ones look forward to. As an integral part of a wedding arrangement, it gives intending couples' families the opportunity to meet themselves. At the same time, it is proof that lovers are serious about their relationship.

In a post published by, naming a child is solely the parents' responsibility, and as such, how people prepare for baby naming and the way the ceremony is conducted differ. Interestingly, in Ghana's culture, naming and outdooring ceremonies are done for every newborn baby by the family in the presence of the extended family and under the guidance of the family’s elders.

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The post contains all you need to know about Ghanaian culture and traditions around naming and outdooring. You will also get to know about how to combine a Ghanaian outdooring ceremony and naming ceremony, as well as some beautiful names you can consider for your child.

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