Families in Ghana are increasingly turning to troupes of dancing pallbearers to send their loved ones off in style, and bring some joy to what is usually perceived as a very sad event.
Dancing pallbearers not only lift the casket at a funeral, they also lift the mood of attendees by putting on a show. They parade the casket on their backs and shoulders, while at the same time executing a complex choreography that often involves spinning around, dropping to the ground and even pretending to drop the casket, all to the delight of the audience. It’s definitely an unusual display, but families in Ghana are increasingly paying for the services of such troupes to give their loved-ones an upbeat send-off.
Photo: video screengrab
Ghana’s dancing pallbearers have recently been featured in a BBC Africa video, but they’ve apparently been around for at least seven years now. In 2015, blogger FollowMyBraids introduced the internet to the dancing pallbearers, after attending the funeral of his mother-in-law. His YouTube video has gotten around 600,000 views since.
“This was a mind-blowing experience. I’m so glad I was able to witness this performance in person. I actually enjoyed the awesome talent and strength of these young men. And they never missed a beat!!” the blogger wrote.
Benjamin Aidoo, who started a business around the dancing pallbearers trend, currently employs around 100 men and women, training them to execute the choreography to perfection. he invests heavily in their outfits as well, for a more impressive visual effect.
“I decided to add choreography to it so if the client comes to us, we just ask them: ‘Do you want it solemn or do you want a bit more of a display? Or maybe you want some choreography on it?’ They just ask and we do it,” he told BBC.