Author Topic: Massive Songkran festival travel spurs coffin business  (Read 511 times)

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Offline thaiga

Massive Songkran festival travel spurs coffin business
« on: April 12, 2014, 01:53:50 PM »
Songkran festival is the period when people return homes for celebration and family reunion.

Millions of people will travel out of the capital for homes in the provinces at the same period thus causing traffic jams on highways to the north, northeast and south.

The massive Songkran festival  travel will unavoidably bring highway accidents resulting in the high fatalities each year.
Forecast of this year’s road mishap  fatalities is about  300-400 deaths through the seven day period  described as ‘seven dangerous day of Songkran festival.
Last year only the first four day of the dangerous period  from April 11-14, 218 people have died from road accidents.
This year authorities were determined to bring down the figure with many campaign being launched.

However death couldn’t be avoided as long as massive festival travels continue.

But road accident death is making a businesses running, coffin making.
The business is lucrative during the period with coffin makers saying they  have had to stockpile their products in order to meet the demand.

 Workers at coffin making factories have had to increase their output especially during the period of Songkran and during the New Year as a result of the increased demand because of deaths from road accidents.

Coffin makers are thus one of the parties to profit from such unfortunate occurrences.

 “Coffins have evolved into many different designs with many varieties to choose from,” said one coffin maker Viroj Suriyaseni, a heir to Suriyaseni coffin supplier firm.

He said  the most popular are the white colored ‘Thep-phanom’ (with sculpture of deities, hands clasped in prayer adorning the covers).

At present, coffin makers are increasing their output to meet the demand during the so called ‘Seven Dangerous Days’ during festivals when traffic accident fatalities are the highest in the country, he said.

Coffins have become symbols of social status here in Thailand with price starting from 1,000 Baht for the regular white coloured ‘Thep-phanom’ coffins that have been popular for more than 50 years and some can fetch as much as hundreds of thousands Baht.

For example, coffins made from teak adorned with pearl inlays can cost as much as 600,000 Baht depending on the detail of the art work.

Normal demand for coffins is about one to two coffins per day but rises to seven or eight, or even 10 coffins per day during the ‘Seven Dangerous Days’ period which is a substantial increase.
That is why many suppliers start stocking up on coffins as early as March in order to keep up with demand, he said.

 Coffin manufactures  revealed that on top of the ‘Seven Deadly Days’ during major festivals in which many deaths occur, they will also have to shut down to allow workers to return home to celebrate with their families.

As a result of this, prior to major festivals, coffin making  will have to increase the production by at least 20 percent.

Many factory owners reveal that as of March, this year’s demand for coffins, especially pricy ones, have dropped significantly and distributors have had to lower their stocks. They say that demand for pricy expensive coffins have fallen by half and liturgy ceremonies which traditionally have been held for five days have now been reduced to only three days because of the economic down turn and the political unrest in the country.

 Every year during this period, coffin sales have been high especially in rural areas such as in the Esan or northeastern provinces. High demand for coffins during this period stems from the fact that many deaths occur on the roads because local people who have move to the cities to find work will take the opportunity during the festival to return home to visit friend and relatives and traffic accidents rise accordingly.

In fact, the Esan region is the highest purchaser of coffins during festivals and merchants say that the demand will only abate when the rainy season and the Buddhist Lent arrives.

 Coffin sales during the rainy season and Buddhist Lent drop significantly.

Another coffin maker said the drop is between 10 – 20 percent on average  due to fact that during Buddhist Lent, there is a lower percentage of alcohol intake resulting in less deaths on the roads.

The highest demand for coffins occurs during the cold season where we see the most deaths of the elderly from natural causes or otherwise in the country. The period from October to December of each year see the highest demand for coffins while during the ‘Seven Dangerous Days’ on every festival where people return to their homes in the provinces, coffin sales are very high in rural regions, he said.

The periods during festivals yield the highest statistics of death from road accidents. That is why they are known as the ‘Seven Dangerous Days’.
The main culprits are drunken driving, fatigue and sleeping at the wheel which as a consequence help to generate high demand for coffins which in hindsight is every human’s final resting place.

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