Your Guide to Funeral Planning | 08.31.2022

Why Are Legs Covered In The Casket At A Funeral?

Why Are Legs Covered In The Casket At A Funeral?

Reviewed By: Scott Ginsberg

Cross Checked By: Elizabeth Siegel

4 min read



Organizing an open casket funeral is a familiar custom for families and dear friends to experience ultimate closure with their loved ones. In an open casket funeral, you see your loved one for one last time before bidding farewell. Here, the casket is kept open until the departed person’s waist is up, and the legs in the casket are usually covered. But, you might wonder why you would cover the legs at a funeral.

Though covering the legs during a funeral is a unique burial ritual, in reality, it stems from your preferences in holding the ceremony for the deceased. All caskets do not cover legs, and you can plump for a half-couch(half open) or full-couch(full open) one, depending on how you wish to show the body in the casket. Also, it would help if you considered multiple traditional and detailed reasons behind covering the body's leg in the casket. 

Before addressing this ritual's significance, let's dig into the difference between half-couch and full-couch caskets

Half Couch Vs. Full Couch 

Half-Couch: A half-couch casket is the most frequented type of casket by funeral planners because it consists of a lid that separates the casket into two pieces. It provides you with an option to open both parts if necessary, making it an ideal alternative if you aspire to hold an open casket ceremony. 

Full-Couch: These caskets have a single-piece lid that, when opened completely, displays the deceased's body. A half-couch or a full-couch casket can look similar, but the latter is used more often if you plan to arrange a closed casket funeral.

Neither can be a better option as you have to make the final call based on your idea of body care in a casket. Yet, half-couches are preferred, and it's crucial to understand why. 

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7 Reasons To Cover Legs In Casket

  • Affordability: The entire body requires extensive care when you opt for a full-couch casket. It is exceedingly expensive to dress from the waist to the feet and present it as approvingly as the face and torso. Though both types of casket of the same size will fetch the same price, a simple half-couch casket can save you bucks in terms of body care in a casket
  • Height Constraints: Embalming the corpses of your near and dear ones, entails utmost care and respect. However, the body size varies; for many, a regular-sized casket might not be enough, and these caskets require height adjustments. Buying an oversized casket is another possibility, but they are expensive. A half-couch casket can be a solution as it can make lower body adjustments by bending the knees or legs to accommodate the body in the casket
  • Fitting Concerns: Posthumous Care is essential to the funeral process because bodies start decomposing post-death. It is a common practice to cover the legs as there is swelling in the feet and shoes don't fit. As part of funeral care, the body is dressed and preserved, with the prime focus on the face. Post embalming, bodies are often placed without shoes; hence covering the legs is the way to offer a dignified funeral. 
  • Cultural/Religious Reasons: Sometimes, covering the legs is done due to cultural or religious beliefs. Some traditions demand you to cover the legs of the deceased as a sign of honor. 
  • Reason for Death: Death can occur for several reasons, like accidents causing trauma to the lower portion of the body. It is challenging to present the body decently, and the primary focus is on the face. In such situations, it is bothersome to view the body's bottom, and covering the legs in caskets permits you to bestow an aesthetic funeral.
  • Lighting: In a funeral, half-couch caskets allow for better lighting enabling you to have a blissful look at your beloved. It is always easier to light up the upper half of the body and present the face under the best light. By covering the legs, funeral directors save time by spending lesser time lighting the lower portion of the body. 
  • Aesthetics: These days, you can avail the services of a funeral make-up artist to make the lifeless look lifelike. Covering the legs in caskets, the artist can solely focus on beautifying the face. Another usual practice is to place flowers on the casket at funerals. If the casket is fully open, it will be difficult to correctly put the flowers, whereas, in half-couch caskets, you can place them on the bottom portion.

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Wrapping Up

Now that you have the answers to the evergreen mystery behind covering legs in the casket at a funeral, you know it is all about your comfort and preferences. In your moment of grief, saying the final goodbye is always the hardest. Whether or not you decide to cover the legs in a casket, you can always ensure the body of your precious is treated with dignity and love.