Coffin or Casket?

Casket or coffin? Traditional or something else?

I’m not sure that’s a question a lot of people think about. It is something that I, as a pre-needs funeral consultant, think about. Its not that I have some macabre view on the world, but there are so many different styles, colours and options! Every funeral is different, personal in its own special way. So what would you choose – coffin, casket or something else?

First, the difference between a traditional coffin and casket.

Basically the difference between a coffin and a casket comes down to design. Coffins are tapered at the head and foot and wide at the shoulders, giving it that more human shape. A coffin also has a lid which is removable. A casket is rectangular in shape and has a lid with a hinge, either half or full length of the casket. Both coffins and caskets are lined with a beautiful satin. They both come in a wide range of colours with a flat or raised lid and can be made from wood or steel.

So what about the something else?

Those who are environmentally conscious may not want to be placed in a traditional coffin or casket because of the wood used in the construction. There are caskets available which have been made from sustainable fibres like pandanus leaves or banana leaves. Not only do these caskets look striking, its not doing damage to the environment so its becoming a more popular choice.

Some like to have their final send off in a cardboard box, which can absolutely be accommodated. coffins and caskets can be made from post-consumer recycled cardboard. They are suitable for either burial or cremation. There are certain regulations that are set out by the government that one needs to follow, it needs to be lined with a plastic that will prevent any leakages for example.

In Ghana, fancy or figurative coffins are used. They are a real spectacle! The coffins are made by specialized carpenters and could also, really, be considered a work of art more than a coffin. The reason such elaborate coffins are used is due to religious beliefs that death is not the end and that life continues in the next world the same way it did on earth. Coffins that are in any shape or colour you could imagine have been created. My favourite would have to be the beautiful blue peacock!

Burial shrouds are another option which is neither a coffin or a casket. A burial shroud is a large piece of cloth, usually made from an organic material such as cotton or linen. Generally in Australia you cannot be buried in just a shroud, with the exception of certain religions. Cremation with just a shroud is also something that not all funeral directors can facilitate, crematoriums have certain regulations that need to be followed, however some funeral directors can offer this.

Personally I’d like one of the caskets made from banana leaves. What would you pick? Coffin or casket? Traditional or something else?

Have some questions about what coffins, caskets or environmentally friendly options are available?  Why not get in touch with us and see what we can offer!

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