What is the Difference Between a Casket and a Coffin?

The two terms coffin and casket are used interchangeably by the common public at large, but the funeral industry insiders know that there is a difference between the two. This article will help you in understanding the difference between a funeral casket and a coffin.

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Caskets

The word casket was originally coined to describe an ornamental box used to hold ornaments, jewelry or other precious items. By the mid-19th century in the United States, the person who quietly buried the deceased, known as the local undertaker was now a funeral director. The embalming techniques had progressed at that time, so did the business side of mourning. Every feasible measure was taken to consider the sensitivities of the grieving family members and to alleviate their pain as much as possible. Therefore the term casket came into the limelight as it was less sullen. Caskets are four-sided, hinged-lidded, box-shaped burial vessels with a split-lid for viewing purposes. The shape of a casket was thought to be less gloomy as it did not depict the shape of a dead body. Funeral caskets are available in a large variety- wooden caskets, metal caskets or semi-metal caskets. They can also be customized with the help of ornaments and personalized possessions in accordance with the buyers’ wishes. Caskets are a bit costlier than coffins and as they are larger in dimensions owing to their rectangular shape.

Coffin

The term coffin is derived from the Old French word cofin, from Latin cophinus, which means a basket which is the latinisation of the Greek word kophinos which means “basket”. This term has been since the early 16th century to describe a container that holds dead bodies for burial. Coffins were traditionally made with six sides plus the top lid and bottom, attenuated around the shoulders to form a rectangular with four sides. Another form of the four-sided coffin is trapezoidal and is considered a variant of the six-sided hexagonal kind of coffin. They present a shape similar to human beings, which is not very comforting to the mourners. Coffins are smaller in dimensions than the caskets as they are narrower at the base. This leads to lesser costs for the coffin.

Choice of casket or coffin

There are some visually clear differences between the casket and the coffins. The choice is the decision of the family members unless the deceased has foreordained specific requirements. The choice can be made keeping in mind the prices and dimensions of the burial casket and coffin. You must also check the parameters of the chosen resting place as the chosen gravesite may not be large enough to accommodate a largely sized casket. Choosing any of the two is a difficult decision as the time of this purchase is emotionally tolling. If you are willing to buy a casket then make your decision wisely and after thorough research. Buying from the best dealers is an option which ensures superior quality and suitable prices.

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