Builsa Community



Marriage is an important aspect of many cultures and foundation of societies. A marriage ceremony can quickly assist someone in identifying the culture an individual belongs. Marriage rites differ from culture to culture, even in one geographical area. In Ghana, you see a lot of tribes, and these tribes’ marriage ceremonies differ from each other. However, it is widely unaccepted for a bride to elope with a groom, but in the Builsa community in Ghana, this is accepted. It is actually the way by which marriage is performed.


Contracting marriage in the builsa community comes in three stages. This includes courting, eloping, and sealing.

COURTING: When a Builsa man finds or meets a Builsa lady he wants to settle down with, he visits the lady’s home with a friend. On the first visit, his friend drinks the water they are served on his behalf. Several such visits continue after the first visit, hoping to be accepted by the woman’s family. He is asked to see the girl’s mother when he is accepted. He does this by presenting some drinks and cola, a reasonable quantity, to the family. Every visit after the acceptance is done with gifts, which include drinks (pito), salt, guinea fowls, tobacco and cola. Currently, money and alcohol are added to the gifts. And in some cases, the lady may have more than one suitor; a fair chance is given to all of them to woo the lady until she makes her choice. The gifts presented by these suitors are usually kept until she makes her choice and elopes with her choice. Any other suitors can come for their gifts after the girl makes her choice. This is also done to the person’s own detriment, as he would be denied marriage in that community. Sometimes, there is so much competition among suitors, which results in a forceful elopement without the lady’s consent. The community chief is alerted when this happens, and the man is ordered to return the lady home. Consummation of marriage occurs after the girl has stayed with the husband’s mother for some time. So, in forced elopement cases, there usually is no sexual intercourse between the man and the woman. The suitor may ask assistance from the lady’s friends and or any woman married in that community from his community to help in wooing the lady. As this is going on, background checks are made by both families. However, the decision is left to the lady.

ELOPEMENT(MARRIAGE): After courting, which may go on for several years, when the lady has settled on a suitor, she informs her mother of her choice, who also informs the father. She also tells the mother when she will elope  (marry) with the man. Elopement in the Builsa culture usually happens on market days. This is because market days in the Builsa community are more than just a day of buying and selling. They are days that people meet and celebrate. Events and occasions are also held on market days because, unlike ordinary days, they bring more people into communities than on other days. Market days are days of merry-making in Builsa land. The lady and the suitor may elope on a market day or the night before a market day amidst praise singing. The songs are memorable,”akuwaaliba or adanle”, that are sung only to signify marriage.

SEALING: The final part of the builsa marriage is the sealing. After the lady has eloped with her suitor, the next part, the landlady or the landlord mobilises about three men to get back to the lady’s house and inform the lady’s family not to look for their daughter as she is with them. On receiving this message, the lady’s brothers will visit their in-laws for the first time. Once the lady identifies them as her brothers,   they are welcomed warmly with drinks, and they negotiate for an animal to be killed to prepare their meal. They leave the house the next day. The lady’s husband now goes to pay the dowry of the lady,   which could be a number of guinea fowls, salt, tobacco, cola, alcohol, pieces of cloth, sheep, and some money. These may vary from community to community, and the man is not tasked with paying for a specific number of items. He performs the dowry to his glory and capacity.


The elopement way of contracting marriage among the Builsa people of Ghana is unique. This demonstrates the uniqueness of marriage process among Builsa citizens. Also, marriage processes are different from tribe to tribe and even among countries. 


Cynthia Aninkale Apiung



  1. Samuel 11 months ago October 24, 2022

    Wow good writer up, I didn’t feel bored reading it, it’s interesting.

  2. Christopher Agyemang 11 months ago October 26, 2022

    Woooooow this is unique. I you opened my eye. Well I will prepare for my own elopement . Very educative dear
    Keep it up


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