Taboos have come a long way to deter people from engaging in certain practices that society naturally considers as wrong and unacceptable. For this reason, we take a look at some popular taboos of the Ewes in the Volta Region of Ghana.
According to the Wikipedia definition of taboo, it is an implicit ban on something based on a cultural sense that it is excessively repulsive or too sacred for just anyone, and such prohibitions are present in virtually all societies.
With the above definition, it is so much acceptable the Ewe society in the Volta Region has its own taboos that the natives must respect on all grounds as much as they can on cultural grounds as they differ from place to place.
Popular Taboos of The Ewes
Ewe taboos are unique and they come with their own distinct meanings. As mentioned earlier, these taboos are different in the sense that though these people are all Ewe speaking people, their cultural diversity places them on different taboos.
For instance, Ewes occupy places such as; Anloga, Keta, Dabala, Sogakofe, Tefle, Adidome, Volo, Abor, Akatsi, Ho, Hohoe, Mafi, Bator, Juapong, and many other places. Each of these places has its own taboos. Let’s take a look at some of these taboos now:
1. You don’t whistle at night: according to oral history, the taboo that one should not whistle at night should be respected because it comes with its own advantages to society.
To the aged, snakes’ hiss and their sounds are similar to the whistles of man. With this, whistling at night may invite snakes which will be of the mind that their types are around the place and this may result in snake bites.
2. You should not fish on Tuesdays: some Ewe societies hold the view that it is against tradition that one goes on fishing expeditions on Tuesdays on the river, lake or lagoon, and even the sea.
They believe that Tuesdays are days that the gods come out to take their bath hence one cannot see them do that.
However, the main reason for this taboo is to allow one to rest and allow the waters and fishes as well t settle for more harvest work.
3. Women do not swim in rivers: one Ewe taboo also is that women are not allowed to swim and to some extent even fetch water from rivers available in the referred societies.
It is believed that the male gods may have affairs with these women spiritually if they go against the directives of the taboo.
Well, this taboo also has its own positive meaning. The reason for the enactment of this taboo is to prevent women from washing their menstrual blood in these water bodies.
4. You do not sweep at night: this taboo cuts across many Ewe societies as its relevance to the people is one that cannot be underscored on any day in any discussion.
The belief that one must not sweep at night is also largely based on culture and spirituality among the people occupying the Ewe land.
But the main reason for such a taboo is to prevent one from misplacing his/her fortunes. Since it is night, a person may not be able to take out important items that are been swept hence misplacing valuables.
5. Do not pound fufu at night: actually, society sees this taboo also as a cultural or spiritual one that must be strictly adhered to on any day. But what happens if that is the only time available.
Fufu is a food that is mostly served cold. It is believed that is pounded at night, one may not be able to see insects and flies that will enter and since most of these insects are poisonous, you may end up sick or dead from consuming such foods.