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Celebrating the Dance Between Life and Death

 
steward
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Similar to how there are midwives for births and death doulas for death, there are intricate and fascinating ways that both parts of the cycle of life and death are honored and celebrated.

While reading The Green Burial Guidebook by Elizabeth Fournier, I learned about an awesome way that people in Ghana celebrate the memory of their loved ones- fantasy coffins:

Elizabeth Fournier wrote:In Ghana, “fantasy coffins” are constructed to represent the deceased’s job or life passions. They are produced from wood and then shaped and painted into everything from soda bott les and rocket ships to zoo animals.



These Ghanaian Craftsmen have Turned Coffin-Making into an Art (1998)



From the video description:
"The funeral matches the exuberance of the coffin. Friends purge their grief with laments, but later the event turns into a celebration of life, with plenty of food and dancing. The local priest is trying to discourage these elaborate practices, arguing that people should be saving for their children’s education rather than wasting money on funerals. Few agree with him, however: going out in style is just too important!"

What other celebrations do you know of or practice for both ends of the cycles of life and death?
 
pollinator
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Oh Geez!  This has potential to turn into the "What I really want to be buried in!" thread...  Hmmm, I hope i have a lot of time to think that through...
 
pollinator
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I want to be buried in a shroud.  I think I'll be making this one:  http://cindea.ca/Sewn-bag%20type%20D%20ribbon%202012Aug28.pdf

More patterns:  http://cindea.ca/shrouds.html
 
steward
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Dave Burton wrote:
What other celebrations do you know of or practice for both ends of the cycles of life and death?



Wakes, for the end of life. I used to drink and go to a regular bar. When a fellow bar buddy passed, we'd meet at the bar after funeral services for an afternoon of drinking, which was really like any other day of the week, except the conversation was all about sharing happy stories and memories of whomever passed. It's been years since I've been to one, largely in part due to not drinking anymore.
 
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For only $400, a Ghana fantasy coffin can be made to celebrate your sustainable lifestyle in the form of your favorite reusable drinking vessel or world domination gardening hack.
 
gardener
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I am hoping my family throws a party and feeds everyone homemade pizza ,bread, BBQ,  sending them home with plates of food.

I hope they bury me in my dingy white overalls , unenbalmed, in a coffin made of scavenged wood, with a tree as a headstone.

I hope it's on my little garden plot,  were I'd have spent my final years baking,building, making charcoal,  raising muskovies, and growing sweet acorns.

But I can't get them to listen to me while I'm here,  so I'm pretty sure even the simplest of those hopes will remain dreams.

Buying a fancyfull coffin while you are alive seems like a safer bet.
 
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