Bragoro, also known as Brapue, is a puberty rite performed by the Akans especially among the Ashantis.
Traditionally, a young girl undergoes the Bragoro rites after experiencing her first ever menstruation, which according to the Akans signals womanhood for the young girl hence the need to undergo the puberty rites.
After a young girl experiences her first menstruation, her mother reports it to the council of elders, queenmothers and community leaders to signal to them that her daughter is now ready and qualifies to be initiated.
Activities marking the event come in two-fold, a spiritual aspect and physical aspect. The spiritual aspect involves finding out if the young girl’s soul actually conforms with the event as it is believed that the soul of some of the girls may not conform with the whole process hence the need to exclude that girl from rites to prevent any spiritual disasters like spiritual sickness.
When that step is successfully passed, the family then begins to make material preparations towards the event by providing the girl with special clothing and food for the celebration.
From there, the girls are sent to a queen mother who conducts a special customary test to find out if any of the girls are pregnant or have had sex before so that they can also be excluded.
The final phase involves a durbar where all the community folks assemble at a common ground to witness the Bragoro ceremony.
At the ceremony, several activities take place including the enstoolment where the girls sit and stand on a stool repeatedly for three times. After that, water contained in a basin and believed to be a spiritual water are sprinkled on the girls to ‘drive away evil spirit’ and also make them fertile and produce many children.
This is accompanied by a huge celebration by the whole crowd as they eat, drink and make merry to welcome the girls into adulthood. Gifts are also handed out to the girls’ parents to be given to the young girls when the event is over.
In recent times, however, the popularity and significance of Bragoro among the Akans seem to be waning as the ceremony is barely observed in most Akan communities with very few still holding on to it.