Traditional Happy Birthday Celebrations?

By Abby Gentry, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017

Unfortunately, while in Ghana, I did not have many encounters with the local cuisine.  My friends and I mostly found ourselves dining at hotels or restaurants we found online that served familiar salads, sandwiches, pizza, and burgers.  While it may not have been local food, it was still incredibly delicious.

However, I did have an interesting experience in that three of my friends celebrated their birthdays while we were traveling in Ghana.   At each restaurant, we asked if they could bring out a cake or something of that sorts and at all three restaurants, I have never seen such elaborate birthday celebrations. 

Each restaurant had an extravagant dance planned involving every waiter/waitress in the restaurant.  They danced to a local soundtrack and typically danced in circles around the restaurant 2-3 times before landing at the table with the birthday guest.   At the end of the dance, a male waiter would grab the birthday girl and dance with her for a while before sitting her back down to blow out the candles.  Typically, I would not find this unusual if it had happened in one restaurant, but I found it very interesting that almost the exact same performance happened at every restaurant. This behavior seemed to follow suit with the overall spirited and cheerful attitudes I found in Ghana.