Valentine's Day in Ghana - All You Need To Know

Valentine's day became a day to celebrate in Ghana first after the airwaves were deregulated and private radio channels like Radio Gold and Joy FM entered the stage around 1995.

But if Valentine's Day celebrations got to a late start, it sped up quickly and the celebration of romantic love is today widespread in Ghana!

Fellow blogger Nana Yaw writes a funny post including five stories of what high-school sweethearts go through around this time of year, like this one
Sometimes, you just didn't have the money to compete, but couldn't get her to understand. So, 1 week before the Day, you kicked up a baseless fight, and broke up. No need for presents. You waited for 5 days, and went back to you were sorry.
I hope you never had to do this artificial breakup maneuvre! Read all of Nana Yaw's Valentine stories here.

Professor Jo Ellen Fair (who I met last year) have researched the topic of Valentine's Day in Ghana and in summary says that celebrating "Val Day" is something the middle class in Ghana does to feel modern and cosmopolitan. This quote is from the conclusion of the paper "Me Do Wo: The Creation of Valentine's Day in Accra, Ghana". Find the whole paper here (pdf). or read a summary here.
Many say that the Valentine's theme of love "clicks"
in Ghana. "Because love is universal, anyone in any culture can be a part of Val Day," said one young woman (interview, Feb. 10, 2002). Valentine's Day sanctions gestures and words of affection in a culture otherwise characterized by public and private reserve. Valentine's Day is "the one chance you get to tell people how you feel," said one female secondary student (interview, Feb. 5, 2002). "Valentine is wonderful. I can hold my boyfriend's hand and walk down the street," said another secondary student(interview, Feb. 5, 2002). Advocates of Val Day are insurgents for romance in aculture uncertain of the future of more practical approaches to relationships.

This morning, these inputs paved the way for an interesting discussion over breakfast with my sweetheart.

Pic: Walking together on a beach early in the morning - my idea of romance! Happy Valentine's Day everybody!


Anonymous said...

Nice post you got here. It would be great to read more about that theme. Thnx for sharing that info.

Mike said...

Nice picture. I miss the Gh beaches.
The first sentence in this article is not true. Vals day was celebrated by many in Gh, decades prior to the emergence of FM stations.
The private radio stations in the 90's only took it to a higher commercial level.

Kajsa Hallberg Adu said...

Thanks Anon!
nd Mike, good to get some feedback, thnaks for that. I'd love to know how VAl's Day was celebrated in Ghana before 1995.

Mike said...

Val's day wasnt any different in my neighborhood than it was at school. In the 70's & 80's the general stories amongst the youth were the same as described by Nana Yaw. It was pretty much friends hyping it up amongst eachother. The FM stations took it to a broader audience in the 90's.
Since we were in school, I don't have details of how our parents used to celebrate it.

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