Beads Wearing in Africa

Ghanaian bracelets

Beads are probably the most common accessories across the African continent. Many regions outside of Africa also uses beads in diverse ways.
Almost all African countries wears beads for the same purposes; physical use(beautifying the body) and spiritual use (protection).

Samburu woman in beads headgear, bead earrings, neck and shoulder beads.

In Ghana, local beads are typically made out of recycled glass material, usually from used glass bottles, and the Krobos are the most popular group in Ghana for beads making.
Their beads come in different sizes, shapes and colours.

In most African countries, beads are usually worn around the crown of head, neck, shoulders, upper arm, elbows, wrist, waist, hip, knees and ankles.

Beautiful Nigerian coral shoulder beads

Ghanaian babies will usually be gifted beads from their grandmothers days after they are born. These beads are usually blue and white. The tiny blue beads are worn around the neck and wrists. White beads, usually a size bigger than the blue beads are worn around the waist, upper arm and knees of the baby. This is done for both boys and girls. These beads are not worn forever though, usually the beads(with the exception of the waist beads for girls) are taken off before the child turns a year or just not replaced when they come off.
Sometimes beads are worn around the legs to fix bow legs, children with bow legs wear the beads into their year 6 or more. This works sometimes.

Beads are also used all across Africa as dressing accessories. They make beautiful headwears, necklaces, wrist bracelets, anklets, etc.
Different beads are worn for everyday life and for special occasions. There are beads for royalty and beads only the rich can afford.
Both a groom and bride wear beautiful beads during traditional marriage ceremonies.
Ceremonial waist beads are usually worn on the outside of clothes to show off to others. They are a lot bigger and more in strands than the permanently worn waist beads under clothes.

On the right is a Ghanaian actress and celeb dressed like a queen
Yuroba couple on the left, Togolese couple on the right

Anklets of different sizes and colors are worn by anyone who wants to, man or woman(in Ghana, a man wearing one will likely be suspected to be gay though).
Traditional priest and priestesses wear white, or white and black anklets in their everyday life.

Ga priest and priestesses at a festival, notice their anklets

My friend Delali at readerstellnotales shared with me some information she came across on a TV show, hosting a spiritual educationist talking on the subject of beads and anklets. This is what the man had to say;
Anklets can be worn based on one’s beliefs. It shows one’s identity. Twins have theirs, the leg on which a woman wears it will tell you if they are married or not(varies which leg from culture to culture), traditionalists have theirs too. Our kings and queens wear them. Some are for protection from anything you may step on.
Female anklets tend to carry and attract sexual energy, it attracts men just like the waist beads.”

Beads worn on any part of the body can also be infused with spiritual powers to protect the wearer from evil outside of them.
Beads worn by priests and priestesses and chiefs are usually for a spiritual function.
Anyone else can get their beads prayed upon by spiritualist to make it into a talisman for them.

Beads are made in different colours and I just recently got to learn that there are meanings to the colors as well, and sometimes in relation to the body part it’s on.
The same spiritual educationist mentioned above had these colour meanings to share;

In a traditional setting, a lady with a black bead on her waist means she’s got a secret she’s keeping, such as commiting incest.”

“Blue won for babies is with the meaning of protecting their destiny, for them to glow with the luck they came with.”

“White on babies is because babies are seen as pure beings, such as angels. And since they are mostly defenseless white beads are worn to protect them.”

“A husband may give the wife white beads in the past to signify an appreciation of the wife’s loyal and a plea for her to keep being loyal to him.”

Online, you can find several articles and videos on the meaning of beads colours, mostly based on the general meanings commonly attached to colours.

A woman selling beads at the market

I recommend buying your beads from the market yourself if that is possible. Those sold online are way more expensive. And in person you are more likely to pick one you feel drawn to energy-wise than what looks beautiful in online pictures.

In the next post, I’m going to be sharing all about waist beads.

It’s been a while 😸, peace and love to you all my friends 🥰😍😘🥳.

Credit: All images are from Google photos

3 Replies to “Beads Wearing in Africa”

  1. This is educative and worth knowing. The saying “we eat but,never satisfied, we thirst after water daily but still continue to drink” knowledge indeed is found in places as wisdom drawn from a lot of things 🎁 (presented) and hidden in creation. Worth sharing,very interesting…
    Am glad I passed by….

    Liked by 1 person

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