- Ghanaian people have an interesting practice: they hire funeral pallbearers who will dance while carrying a coffin.
- Benjamin Aidoo said he added some choreography as an additional offer and customers are loving the idea.
- Because of extravagant funeral trends in the country, Aidoo was able to create new jobs for young people.
Benjamin Aidoo’s pallbearers do more than carry coffins. They bring it to the next level — by dancing their way to the dead’s final resting place. In a short documentary, the BBC News showed how mourners in Ghana often preferred upbeat funerals as a way of showing a family’s success.
The founder, choreographer and leader of what they call the “dancing pallbearer troupe” Benjamin Aidoo started his business in 2010. In an interview, he said that he eventually decided to add choreography to the funeral march add some style to the ceremony. He always ask his customers: “Do you want it solemn or do you want a bit more of a display? Or maybe you want some choreography on it?”
“People boast about how much they spend on a funeral…They say with pride: ‘I spent 10,000 cedis’. Ghanaians spare no expense because we care more about the dead than the living. Just die and you will see how many loved ones you have,” Aidoo said.
The dancing pallbearers have since gained fame as they have been seen dancing with choreographed steps, dropping to the floor, spinning around, and even throwing the coffin in the air.
Aidoo usually charges the mourners as much as 2,200 cedis or $387 per performance. He has since created 100 jobs for young men and women in Ghana, looking for opportunities to earn.
Aside from the jobs he created, Aidoo also said that he also invests “heavily” on his team’s outfit.
“These people, when they are taking your beloved one to their final resting place, they also dance, so I decided to give my mother a dancing trip to her maker,” a female customer named Elizabeth Annan, said.
Funeral rites or ceremonies are normally considered celebrations in Ghana. Families spend thousands of cedis on food, drink, venue, a disc jockey, a band, brochures, posters, photographers, and even videographers filming mourners and families as they bid their final goodbyes to their deceased loved ones.
In an opinion page in The Denver Post, columnist Vicky Wireko said funerals in Ghana have become a huge drain on families’ finances, as they are forced to apply for loans or borrow money from the bank.
Funerals in Ghana, the article stated, are “crazy high.” Coffin with carvings can cost up to 2,500 cedis ($431). Meanwhile, storing a dead body in the morgue costs 400 cedis ($69) per month.
These days, Ghana’s dancing pallbearers have gained fame on social media as netizens created funny memes about them – especially now that people are being reminded to stay home during the lockdown.
Check out some of these hilarious posts we found on Twitter:
Others even made remixes:
Watch this video to learn more about these funeral dancers:
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