Watch: Thai people organise own funeral, lie inside coffins to ring in new year

The ritual, believers say, symbolises death and rebirth which helps rid them of bad luck and be reborn for a fresh start in the new year.
People like in coffins to ring in the new year in a bizarre ritual in Thailand.(AP)
People like in coffins to ring in the new year in a bizarre ritual in Thailand.(AP)
Updated on Jan 01, 2019 01:10 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

Even as the rest of the world rang in the new year with fireworks and countdowns, a suburban temple in Thailand’s Bangkok witnessed a peculiar ritual: worshippers lying inside coffins to participate in traditional funeral rituals. What may appear to be eerie to many is, in fact, a Thai Buddhist ritual held every new year.

The ceremony, worshippers believe, symbolises death and rebirth, which helps them get rid of bad luck and be reborn for a fresh start in the new year.

Participants held flowers and incense in their hands as monks covered them with pink sheets and chanted prayers for the dead.

Phitsanu Kiengpradouk, a 67-year-old retired policeman, was ready to welcome the new year with his own funeral.

“Laying in coffins means we are letting go of our suffering, from our body, and from our mind. We come here to lay in coffins, so we can have better luck and a better life,” said Phitsanu. Busaba Yookong, a 30-year-old who attended the ritual with her family said attending her own funeral was not as eerie an experience as one would presume.

The Takien Temple saw hundreds of worshippers flocking to it to take part in the Thai Buddhist ritual.

While Thailand is on its way to becoming modern, with its capital city being filled with glitzy malls and high-rise buildings, superstitions still hold sway over the people in some aspects of the society.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2021