Traditional Coffins

When you hear the word ‘coffin,’ a variety of images can come to mind. Traditional coffins are used to display the deceased during the wake and serve as a container for burial or cremation. In the United States, there is a distinction between traditional coffins and caskets, which will be discussed in the next section. Official meanings and descriptions aside, a coffin is any box that is used to put the dead in when they are buried. Technically speaking, shoeboxes serve as traditional coffins for departed pets and other small animals, but these containments are different for humans.

Influence from Culture and Religious Beliefs

Many cultures also have their own practices and customs when it comes to the internment of their dead. Coffins and caskets may be used for underground burial, cremation, or containment in mausoleums. For some, even the materials that are used for traditional coffins are specified. For instance, there are religions wherein a coffin must be made purely out of wood and contain absolutely no metal adornments, such as in the case of Judaism beliefs.

The Difference Between Traditional Coffins and Caskets

The main and most obvious difference between a coffin and a casket lies in their respective shapes. Traditional coffins have an irregular hexagonal shape, which has sides that taper from the top to the bottom. On the other hand, caskets are rectangular in shape and closely resemble a shoebox. The materials used for traditional coffins are usually solid wood but for those looking for a cheaper alternative, there are coffins made from wood veneer instead of solid wood. Caskets can be made of either wood or metal and are more popular in the United States. The fittings and handles on both are either brass plated or colored; for caskets, these can be customized to match the body of the box. When it comes to designs, you can opt to have it as plain as you like or as is the case for most people but you can also be as outlandish as you choose. These specially painted coffins can have any theme you want (excluding copyrighted material), and would normally be in the price range of at least $499.00 or more.

Earth Friendly Alternatives

For those who prefer cremation over burial, there are very strict regulations in place when it comes to the coffin that will be used. For one thing, these coffins must not emit any fumes when they are burned so you can’t just use any kind of material. A popular method is to use an inner coffin which is usually made of cardboard and other biodegradable materials. The inner coffin is placed inside the wooden traditional coffins and later taken out. Only the inner coffin is burned with the body so you reduce the amount of fumes and pollution in the air. Because the outer wooden coffin does not come into contact with the corpse, it can be reused and recycled. For a normal burial, you also have environmentally friendly alternatives. These coffins are made of sustainable and biodegradable materials like bamboo, willow, and cardboard.