Monica Dadzie, of Kuapa Kokoo posts about courtship traditions amongst cocoa farmers in Ghana:
Here in Ghana Valentines Day was pronounced as National Chocolate Day some years ago – to celebrate Ghana’s cocoa industry and encourage people to buy more chocolate made of Ghanaian cocoa. This is fine for people in large cities who have access to chocolate and can afford it – but generally it is beyond the means of cocoa farmers. However Kuapa Kokoo farmers have their own chocolate company – Divine – so in a special position to celebrate National Chocolate Day!
Traditions in love
Most of the time the young men choose their loved ones from nearby villages and the reasons are best known to them. Some of the men arrange with their loved ones and meet either during the day or at night at a place that will be conducive to them to chat and express their love for each other. The place could be a river side, under a tree or any quiet place. Others may visit theirs at their homes.
The ones who visit their loved ones at home at the beginning will stand behind the house and whistle to draw the attention of the lady that he has come around. This is also arranged with the lady and she will know where the whistle is coming from and the one whistling. She will therefore sneak out to meet him. They may hang around the backyard or take a stroll around and chat.
Eventually the parents will get to know of the relationship and if accepted by the family, the man will be going straight to the house to see the lady. It is at this point that both parties will start visiting each others family to help their in-laws; the man will give his in-laws farm produce, meat from his hunting, weed their farms and do other domestic chores that requires physical strength and the lady will visit her in-laws to fetch water and do other household chores for them. Sometimes parents of the lady will ask their daughter to prepare food for the man when he brings food items or works for them. Gradually both will be part of each others family and will be visiting each other as and when they want to.
Courtship for cocoa farmers doesn’t involve exchange of cards and flowers, buying of expensive parcels, going to the cinemas, nor considers riches and class. It is all about caring for one another and being each others keeper. The traditional aspect of it is, you do not just care for the one you are in love with but the entire family.
NB – the village this couple come from is called ‘Domeabra’ – which means ‘come here if you love me’ – appropriately enough!
While you wait for Fairtrade Fortnight, celebrate Valentines by sending your loved one a free bar of Divine Chocolate http://www.divinechocolate.com/home/default.aspx