What Do Ghanaian Waist Beads Signify?


Ghanian waist beads are among the most widely replaced items of personal adornment among Ghanaian people. People have been wearing multiple strands of these beads for centuries. These beads include glass and seeds and are worn around the waist with the goal of enhancing femininity and drawing attention. There are other purposes too to wearing these beads, as can be found here in this guide.

Types of Ghanaian Beads

Traditionally, the people of Ghana have been using beads as part of festive celebrations, for trading, fashion statements, art expression, and even as spiritual objects. Over time, ghana waist beads have found widespread applications including the following:

As mentioned above, certain Ghanaian tribes regard beads as having spiritual importance. These tribes can wear glass and wood beads to protect against evil spirits. Sometimes, the beads have been passed between generations, making them treasured possession.

The different styles of Ghanaian beads are as follows:

Krobo Powder Glass Beads

These are among the most popular of all the African beads. They are made by mixing powdered glass and dye, which is poured into a mold before heating.

On cooling down, the bead gets hand painted. When a girl reaches a certain age, she will wear the glass beads around her neck, waist, and wrists. The beads worn on each area of the body signify something special. For example, the beads worn around the neck represent her family’s clan, wealth, and affluence.

Recycled Glass Beads

These beads are also referred to as bottle glass beads. They are made from broken or old bottles. These bottles are treated with fire. The beads are then polished.

Brass Beads

Brass beads are specifically made in a certain area of Ghana. A wax mold is used to make these beads before they get covered in clay. The mold gets heated and when cooled, the beads get unique shapes.

Chevron Beads

These are among the most expensive beads that exist in Ghanaian culture. They are mostly used for trading purposes.

In many cultures, the waist beads are handed over by mothers to their daughters when the latter come of age. When the daughter attains certain age of maturity, her waist beads get added by larger beads. Sometimes, even bells are added. When the girl walks, the beads create a specific sound to intimate potential male partners that she has matured.

In modern times, waist beads are also seen as an indicator of a woman’s weight. Whenever the beads roll up the waist, it is seen as a sign that the girl should lose weight.

Different Colors & Meanings

Ghana beads are available in different colors and each color has a unique meaning. The correlation between different colors and their meanings is as follows:

  • Blue: Truth & loyalty
  • Gold: Power, health & wealth
  • Black: Protection & power
  • Purple: Wisdom, royalty & spirituality
  • Brown: Stability & earth
  • White: Truth, purity & light
  • Green: Fertility, prosperity, abundance & nature
  • Yellow: Happiness, energy & joy
  • Orange: Vitality, courage & self-confidence
  • Red: Vitality & confidence
  • Pink: Beauty, kindness, love & care
  • Turquoise: Self-awareness & communication

Thus, Ghanaian waist beads have an important role to play in the lives and culture of the people of the country. These beads can also be used by others to explore their true meanings.


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