Tuesday, September 1, 2009

59 People Sleep in Coffins to Rid Their Misfortunes

Photo Courtesy of Thairath

NAKORN RATCHASRIMA – In the photo above a purgation ceremony is taking place – and yes, 59 people are hopping into coffins. The coffins used in the ritual will be donated to funerals for people without families or who cannot afford to buy a coffin.

On August 30th, at Pha Sathraruam Temple in front of Boon Watthana school in Nakorn Ratchasrima, a coffin ceremony took place, exchanging people’s bad karma’s with their good deeds. The coffins will be given to underprivileged people without relatives or to those who have died in accidents – which is not uncommon in this country. The ceremony is the 11th of its kind and many contributors and coffin donators have taken part in the services. Thousands of people have participated and attended these rituals with Mr. Vichai Nanthanathawon, head of the event, leading the proceedings.

The most famous part of the ceremony is when 59 people are asked to lie down in the coffins and close their eyes.

The coffins are brand-new and made especially for the occasion. The people lie down in the coffins and the ceremony officers close the lids on them; four monks are then introduced to perform prayers in front of the coffins. These monks are usually eminent monks from different cities. At the end, the people open the lids and sit up to be sprinkled with Buddhist holy water taken from over 108 temples. The ceremony is totally free and provides free food and drinks for those who attend.

Mrs. Muthita Saethang, an advisor for the coffin rituals said that this year, according to astrological readings, females born in the year of snake, monkey, pig, tiger, and males born in the year of goat, dragon, cow and dog should do the ritual because they are born to be punished by the great Naga and will be beheaded. To get rid of their misfortunes, they must lie in coffins so that their well beings are tremendously improved.

Yes, I think I’ll stick to lying in a hot tub and getting rid of the dirt that way.

Courtesy of Thairath

Writer: Adrian Tse & Chet Chetchotisak