Ghana's Fantasy Coffins (PHOTOS)
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On the dusty, noisy, chicken-crossing streets outside Accra, the capital of the English-speaking West African country of Ghana, a tribe called the Ga is making its name in the business of coffins.
The coffins come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from cars to Coke bottles and cell phones. A Ghanian funeral is no small affair, and many families wish to bury their deceased loved ones in something that reflects their life and trade.
The BBC reports that Ghana's "Fantasy Coffins," as the business has come to be known, is a relatively new tradition. About 50 years ago, as the story goes, one Ata Owoo was well-known for making magnificent chairs to transport the village chief on poles or the shoulders of minions. When Owoo had finished one particularly elaborate creation, an eagle, a neighboring chief wanted one too, this time in the shape of a cocoa pod, a major crop in Ghana. However, the chief next door died before the bean was finished, and so it became his coffin. Thus, a tradition was born.
Today, tourists flock to the Accra suburb of Teshie to marvel at the coffin makers open-air showrooms. Tour guides, hired in Accra, can take visitors to the coffin showrooms on request. The coffins are also on display at various museums around the world, like Houston's National Museum of Funeral History.
Fabulous or macabre? You decide!