Riddle #1 – What is it?

The man who invented it doesn’t want it for himself.

The man who buys it doesn’t buy it for himself.

And, the man who needs it doesn’t know he needs it.

What is it?


And while you’re here, check out these 10 facts about Chicago!

History: The word “coffin” comes from the Old French word “cofin,” which originally meant “basket.” The word has been used in English since the 14th century to refer to the burial container.

Different from Caskets: People often use the terms “casket” and “coffin” interchangeably, but they are different. Coffins are typically hexagonal or octagonal in shape, wider at the shoulder and tapering at the head and foot, while caskets are rectangular.

Ancient Coffins: The ancient Egyptians are perhaps the most famous for their elaborate coffins. They used anthropoid coffins shaped like a human body, often with a likeness of the deceased painted on the lid.

Material Variations: Coffins can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, metal, fiberglass, bamboo, wicker, and biodegradable materials for green burials.

Cultural Significance: Coffins hold different cultural and religious significance around the world. In some traditions, the type and design of a coffin can symbolize one’s social status or importance within a community.

Costly Business: Coffins can range widely in cost, with some basic models being relatively affordable, while luxury or custom-designed coffins can cost several thousands of dollars.

Green Burials: With the rise of environmental consciousness, there has been a growing trend towards “green” or “natural” burials, where the body is placed in a biodegradable coffin or shroud, which decomposes over time and allows the body to naturally return to the earth.

Famous Coffins: Some of the most famous coffins in history belong to historic figures or celebrities, like the gold death mask of Tutankhamun or the crystal coffin used for the public viewing of Michael Jackson.

Art & Design: Some people nowadays choose to have their coffins customized with various art or designs that reflect their personalities, hobbies, or passions. In Ghana, for example, there’s a tradition of crafting “fantasy coffins” that represent aspects of the deceased’s life, such as a fish for a fisherman or a plane for a pilot.

Space Burials: While traditionally coffins are used for burials in the earth or interment in mausoleums, there are companies now offering “space burials.” In these services, a small portion of a person’s ashes (cremains) are placed in a capsule and sent into space. It’s a departure from the traditional use of coffins but represents a new frontier in memorializing the deceased.

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