Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My Dream Coffin

If you had the chance to be buried in a custom made coffin that was designed to celebrate your life, what would you choose?

In Ghana, this philosophy has become an art form.  No, more than an art form.  A status symbol.

A fisherman buried in a giant fish coffin.  A grandmother who had never flown buried in an airplane coffin.  Businessmen are buried in Mercedes coffins.  People have been buried in cocoa bean coffins, in rooster coffins, even in Coca Cola bottle coffins.

In Ghana, this is a serious business.  A funeral celebrates the life of the deceased, and the rites must be "just so".  Families can go into serious debt to give a proper send off to a family member.  A coffin can easily run a year's salary.

So, what would be my dream coffin?  Well, some might consider the subject morbid, but, a comment left on my blog today reminded me of an important fact:  It's our mortal body that is being...well,  buried or cremated or whatever else.  As someone who majored in cultural anthropology, I had studied burial customs of peoples around the world. 

"It" will happen to all of us eventually, and wherever we go next, our shell will be left behind.  In many cultures, the body is treated with reverence, and ceremonies are held to comfort those left behind.


The tradition of my ancestors, which normally involves a plain wooden box with no metal hinges or nails, and no embalming of the body, has always appealed to me.

And, if you really want to be green, there is natural burial.  I wouldn't be surprise if that is a problem in New York State, though, and I do not want to become a burden to my family.

But - a chicken coffin? 

Just maybe....

7 comments:

  1. Very Interesting and something I have never really thought about

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  2. I think a cremation puts less stress on the environment but regardless, I would definitely not want a coffin that lasted longer than I did, kwim?

    Interested to hear about your experiences with other cultures.

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  3. Ah yes! My daughter saw these coffins and posted photos in 2011. She has traveled around the world twice!
    http://www.mariesworldtour.com/2011/04/dead-man-dreaming.html#more

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  4. Haha. I can just imagine your chicken coffin. I love the thought of planning your charriot of departure. The references to other people's coffins is really interesting. Imagine setting asside a whole year's salary for your burial.

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  5. Wow, this is something to really think about. Personally I want to be cremated and sprinkled South of Broad (Charleston).

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  6. A chicken coffin! Ha! Alana, you make my laugh! Anything you're not telling us . . . .??

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  7. No idea what coffin I'd like to be buried in. Mum has always said she wants a cardboard box for a coffin though.

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