What is the Difference between a Coffin and a Casket?
Both terms are used interchangeably in countries like the US, but in Ireland, as a general rule, we talk about ‘caskets’ when we refer to a certain shape of funeral box, often with metal in its construction; whereas coffins are made of wood or wooden veneer finishes.
In the US the term casket was adopted by many funeral parlours as a euphemism for a coffin, as people thought it sounded softer and less severe than ‘coffin’, and the shape was less like that of a body (coffins are deliberately are shaped like a person, with a narrow end for the feet, unlike the rectangular casket).
History of Coffins and Caskets
The word coffin is ultimately derived from the Greek word kophinos, meaning “basket”.
The term ‘coffin’ has been in use to describe a container to hold the dead for burial since the early part of the 16th Century, if not before.
A coffin is wider at the top than at the end; has six or eight sides and a very distinctive shape, echoing the human form. The entire lid is removed for viewing purposes and replaced on the coffin prior to transportation to the gravesite.
The term ‘casket’ was originally used to describe a box containing something precious or valuable, before the 19th Century when it became synonymous with coffin.
It’s typically a four-sided box; rectangular in shape and often has metal used in its construction; it may have a split-lid for viewing purposes, where half the lid can be raised; or if the lid is all one unit, it will be hinged for raising.
Choice of Coffin or Casket
The choice is the decision of the family unless the deceased has pre-ordained specific requirements. There is a large selection of coffins and caskets to choose from, and your Jennings.ie Funeral Director will be on hand to answer any queries you may have.
Caskets are larger in dimension, as a general rule, than coffins, and sometimes the gravesite parameters of the chosen resting place may not be large enough to accommodate a casket.
Your Jennings.ie Funeral Director will ensure that you have all the requisite information you need in selecting your plans, and will make it their goal to carry out your wishes, acting on your instructions.