For a long time, I have been wondering why we do some of the things we do. What I mean is the certain traditions that we put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into to make sure they never become extent. For example, why do we eat fish on Good Friday? And why do we put up a tree at Christmas?
But they do not bug me as much as some of the unwritten rules that govern Ghanaian social etiquette. Firstly, why is it rude to give and receive with your left hand? I have directed this question to my mother on many occasions, and all she can offer is "because the left is the dirty hand". However, she has no idea how this rule made its way into Ghanaian society and why the tradition still lives on. I don't think it's a problem per se that these rules exist, but I would just like a bit more information about them. I remember telling my manager at work that I would have to be careful about which hand I use when I'm in Ghana. She asked me "why?" and I told her because the left hand was considered "unclean", then she asked me "why?" again, and I did not have anything tangible to offer.
Secondly, why is it that when you enter a room, where a number of people are gathered, you have to greet everyone, starting from the left (or is it right?) and work your way round in a clockwise motion? I remember going to an aunt's party and being ushered (read: shoved) into the living room by my mother to greet everyone. As I was doing what I assumed to be the right thing, I noticed everybody in the room fiercely staring at me. When I later pointed this out to my mother, she told me it was becasue I went the wrong way around the room. Does it have to be such a big deal?
I am not pretending to be a super-liberal, do-anything-that-goes-against-the norms-of-society type of person, who would do anything to break the rules, it's just that I am baffled why some people insist on abiding to the handbook on Ghanaian social etiquette, when it's missing the hows and whys.