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极富想象力的棺材

2006-07-01 09:39

  The day before his mother's funeral, Donald Rockson had a last-minute(1) change of heart about her bible-shaped coffin(2).

  He had wanted the coffin to reflect his mother's position as a devout(3) churchgoer(4) in this suburb of Accra, Ghana's capital.

  "She is a church elder(5) so it should be a bible in which she is buried," he explained. "But the coffin was not nice, it was not presentable(6)."

  Ditching(7) the bible idea, his search for the perfect coffin brought him to Daniel Mensah's coffin shop.

  Rockson comments with approval(8) as Mensah and his apprentices(9) pin silk and fix crosses(10) and roses to an ornate(11) white coffin, just minutes before the funeral is due to start.

  Funerals are important social occasions in this West African country and elaborate(12), brightly colored coffins have become an art form.

  Most customers give Mensah more time than Rockson but all want to give their loved ones a fitting(13) send-off in a coffin that honors who they were and what they did.

  Fantasy coffins shaped like Coca-Cola bottles, chickens, cars, cameras, birds and bibles are all on sale.

  First popularized in the 1950s, the coffins cost between $300 and $800 in a country where many live on barely $2 a day.

  Some say the coffin represents an aspiration(14), or pride in the achievements of a short earthly(15) stay in a poor country.

  "If you can't acquire it, you can at least be buried in it," said Kwame Labi, a research fellow at the University of Ghana's Institute of African Studies.

  "It is born out of economic crisis, out of trying to build confidence and pride in what life you have."

  妈妈葬礼的前一天,唐纳德·洛克森在最后关头改变了想法,希望找到一个圣经形状的棺材。

  他的妈妈住在加纳首都阿克拉,是位虔诚的教徒。他希望棺材能够反映出妈妈的信仰。

  他解释说:“她是一名教堂长老,应该被埋在圣经中。但是普通的棺材不漂亮,也不像样。”

  有了圣经棺材的想法,他开始寻找一个完美的棺材并最终找到了丹尼尔·曼沙棺材店。

  就在葬礼开始前几分钟,曼沙和他的学徒们还在给华丽的白色棺材铺绸缎,安置十字架和玫瑰花,洛克森对此十分满意。

  西非国家认为葬礼是十分重要的社交仪式,精致、鲜亮的棺材已经成为一种艺术。

  很多客人不像洛克森这样仓促,但同样把逝去的爱人们安放在能体现他们的身份或者成就的棺材中。

  形如可乐瓶、小鸡、汽车、照相机、小鸟、圣经这样富有想象力的棺材你都可以在这里买到。

  这种棺材兴起于二十世纪五十年代,现今加纳的人均日消费仅为2美元,一口棺材的价格却在300到800美元之间。

  有些人说,在贫穷国家,棺材象征一种愿望,或者体现短暂人生中所获成就带来得的骄傲。

  加纳大学非洲研究学院研究人员卡姆·拉比说:“如果你生前无法得到某种东西,至少死后可以被埋在其中。”

  “这种现象产生于经济危机,人们希望逝去的人能够获得自信和骄傲。”

  1. last-minute:最后时刻,最后关头

  2. coffin:棺材

  3. devout:虔诚的

  4. churchgoer:经常去做礼拜的人

  5. elder:年长的人,长老

  6. presentable:象样的

  7. ditching:挖沟

  8. approval:赞同,赞许

  9. apprentice:学徒

  10. cross:十字架

  11. ornate:华丽的

  12. elaborate:精心制作的

  13. fitting:相称的

  14. aspiration:热望,渴望

  15. earthly:现世的,俗世的

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