Pink Coffins

Pink Coffins in Today’s Society

The color pink and coffins do not normally go hand-in-hand. After all, pink represents good health and life while coffins are associated with death. Death, in turn, is usually morbid and dark. However, pink coffins have become acceptable by today's standards. This might be due to the fact that coffins and death have been accepted as part and parcel of life and are no longer taboo topics. One hardcore band from Philadelphia has even adopted Pink Coffins as its moniker.

Death is becoming increasingly accepted as a definite stage of life and coffins, naturally, are a part of funerals. Most modern cultures today view coffins as an essential part of funerals. They are perceived as vessels to transport the dead to their final resting place. In that case, why not use pink coffins? After all, the process of defining oneself should not have to stop at death. The reason behind a request for a pink coffin might be to reflect the dead’s personality. If the request was made by the dead themselves, then it simply translates to their wish of taking charge of their own life and death. Additionally, requests for personalized coffins can add a personal touch to the funeral and help ease the pain of those left behind. Such requests also advocate the idea of celebrating death instead of mourning it.

Supernatural Use of Pink Coffins

Pink coffins possess a supernatural use to them as well; for the practice of the ‘coffin ritual’ at a Thai monastery in Nakhon Nayok. In this ritual, devotees pay a small fee for floral offerings and cash donations to the monks to lie in nine pink coffins for a few minutes. When the lids are shut, the monks will chant death rites as if the devotees have 'died'. This is followed by the chant of new life. The lids are then opened and the devotees awake, as though they have been 'reborn'. The 'dying' and 'reborn' process is believed to help cleanse the devotees of bad karma. Devotees are warned against standing behind the coffins during the ritual as bad karma from the 'dead’ devotees might be lingering there. This ritual is similarly practiced in Britain, except that canoes are used in place of pink coffins.

The ritual is called 'non loeng sadorco' in Thai, which literally translates to 'lie in a coffin, get rid of bad luck'. Although this 'coffin therapy' has been around for decades, it was recently brought to mainstream attention by a 2008 Thai movie titled 'The Coffin' where the protagonists face unspeakable horrors when their rituals go wrong. It also doesn't hurt that a pink shirt craze was sparked off by the Thai King Bhuminol Adulyadej when he left a hospital in 2007 wearing a pink shirt and jacket. The King had begun wearing pink thanks to a royal astrologer's advice who advised that pink is good for his health.

Whatever the reason, lying in pink coffins has become very popular. Hundreds of thousands of devotees line up in front of the monastery for two two-hour sessions each day. Most have been spurred by the bad economy to perform the ritual in the hope of being rid of bad luck. This is not surprising as Thailand is a rather superstitious nation and its people are willing to pay for any ritual they believe will help them. Many devotees swear by the ritual as they say they wake up happy with images of Buddha in their heads.