This is because funerals to them are not just a time of mourning, but also celebration. The Ga people believe that when their loved ones die, they move on into another life. They also believe that their ancestors can have a positive influence on them from the afterlife. Therefore, making sure a loved one moves onto the afterlife in style will hopefully make the deceased more sympathetic towards them.
Fantasy coffins made by the Ga people have been in use since the 1950's when a fisherman was set to rest in a funeral casket shaped like a fish. Since then, the Ga people have gotten more creative, and can create a coffin to look like almost any object imaginable.
Fantasy coffins are usually made up to reflect the kind of life or profession that the dead person had. The coffins could also represent what the person did for their livelihood, depict a vice or show the deceased's place in the community. For example, a restaurant owner might be laid to rest in a coffin shaped like a chili pepper, a taxi driver may be buried in a coffin shaped like an automobile, or a farmer might be buried in a coffin looking like a rooster. Certain coffins made to look like animals (like lions) can reflect that the occupant was a powerful chieftain. A coffin shaped like a sword or chair can mean that the deceased was a priest or royal.
These creative coffin's of course come with a nice price tag. For local fantasy coffins, prices range $400 to $600, which is a little high side considering the average Ghanaian monthly income. However, families and friends usually rally round to raise money for their loved one's fantasy coffin.
Foreign orders on the other hand are more pricey. This is because the carpenters and coffin craft men tend to use more expensive materials, depending on how much is charged. For fantasy coffins going abroad, prices range from $1500-$2000, or even more.
Amongst the Ga people, some of the most popular coffin designs are the fish and bible. The most popular over time however is said to be the Bedford truck.
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