Customary Practices

in Gbi

Customary practices remain an important part of the Gbi culture. Many of these customs have gone through transformation to suit modern lifestyles. Many have changed in  accordance with the well being of the community. Some have been abandoned.

Some of the common most popular customary practices in Gbi are marriage rites, funeral rites and birth rites.

Traditional marriage rites and ceremonies are very popular in Gbi. Even foreigners are required to fulfill  these rites when they take Gbi brides. These ceremonies are often lavish, beautiful and delighted by bride, groom and families.

Funerals are big in Gbi. They are organized in various stages. The programs and ceremonies are culminated by the paying of last respect, burial and after burial events, which are usually public. Like marriage rites, some Gbi funeral rites requirements are binding to non Gbis with Gbi spouses.

 

A popular funeral rite in Gbi is "totu." Totu is a colorful ceremony by which spouses honor their deceased in-laws. Items of various kinds - predetermined by the elders according to customs - are presented by one spouse to the other who has lost his/her parent. This is done in an open gathering amid singing, drumming and dancing. Totu has a striking resemblance to traditional wedding, making it a breathtaking highlight of Gbi funerals.

Enstoolment, enskinment, out-dooring and installing of chiefs, queens, linguists and traditional leaders of various kinds, come with some of the most sacred customary rites in Gbi. In Gbi, people who become chiefs and queens don't do so out of choice. The traditional seats are inherited patrileanially, for those who qualify. These people are usually chosen even if they initially had no interest in occupying a stool. For as long as the kingmakers get hold of them, respect for these sacred customs is so high that no one who is grabbed refuses the call. 

 

Many other Gbi customs come in the form of everyday practices which do not require elaborate directives or special provisions of any kind.

In many cases, performance of customary rites require libation - using palm wine, rum or water.

By Antoinette Herrmann-Condobrey