Beads are normally small and spherical piece of a material such as glass, plastic or wood, that is pierced for stringing or threading to serve a purpose of beautification for the waist, neck, wrist or ankles.
It is still one of the most regarded beauty accessories in Africa. In Ghana, they are one of the most treasured artefacts in Ghanaian culture. They play significant roles in the rites and customs of Ghana.
Historically, bead making originated form Yoruba tribe in Nigeria. The culture then extended to Ghana and has ever since gained complete acceptance in the Ghanaian Culture.
Ghana still remains the largest producer of beads in the world. This has made bead making a common job for some folks in Ghana and has therefore curb the high unemployment rate.
Waist beads in Ghana are traditional women accessory and they pass the culture of wearing beads to their daughters. Different cultures in Ghana have different reasons for putting on beads.
Why do Ghanaian wear beads?
Primarily, beads in Ghanaian culture are considered as fashionable items. However, they go beyond decoration. They are also used for communications, expression of ideas and messages.
Kings and chiefs in Ghana wear different strands of beads on their wrists and necks as a symbol of authority and power. Beads worn by Chiefs in Ghana are mostly made of Gold and are therefore of great value. Members of the royal family also wear beads for identification.
In the Ashanti and Krobo Cultures, mothers give waist beads to their daughters to welcome them into adulthood. Once the daughters reach sexual maturity, larger beads may be added.
Waist beads act as waist trainers
Some women wear beads on their waist to control the growth of the waist. It also helps the shape the waist of women and also makes them sexually appealing.
Some women use waist beads as a weight monitoring tool
Waist beads can naturally give a woman indication that she is gaining weight or losing weight. This can be achieved by looking at the how the beads fit your waist at a particular time.
Some women also wear beads for meditation purposes
Interestingly, some people believe that wearing beads have some protective charms that prevents danger from coming. They are believed to release stress and anxiety.