Your Guide to Funeral Planning | 11.24.2022

Why Should You Use A Coffin For Burials?

Why Should You Use A Coffin For Burials?


Cross Checked By: SCOTT GINSBERG

Why Use A Coffin For Burials? 

Family members of the deceased often use coffins for burials to protect the body after the burial. When a body is buried directly in the earth, it decomposes much faster due to the bacteria and other insects present in the ground. 

However, by using a coffin, you essentially create a protective barrier between the body and the earth, which prevents early decay by slowing decomposition. When protected from outside elements, the body can naturally decompose without any outside interference. 

The wide-spread practice of using a coffin for burials started in Medieval Europe as a means to protect the body after a burial from scavengers and grave robbers. Scavenger animals like jackals and foxes used to frequently dig into the earth where a body was buried to get to it. Grave robbers, who dig into graves to try and retrieve valuable possessions buried along with the dead, were also very prevalent. However, by using caskets and coffins made from wood or metal, family members of the deceased were able to protect their loved ones from this heinous practice. 

Although the instances of scavenger animals and grave robbers raiding burials have gone down significantly, the practice of using a coffin for a burial has continued to exist. 

Other Reasons For Using A Coffin For Burials

Providing protection to your loved one after they’re buried isn’t the only reason why families prefer to use coffins. In fact, there are several other reasons for this practice. Let’s take a look at a few of the key ones. 

  • Facilitates transportation of the deceased

When loved ones die in a foreign country or in a place away from home, the bereaved families might want to transport their bodies back home to give them a proper burial. Depending on the location, it may even take days to transport the deceased.
By using a coffin, family members can transport their loved ones in a dignified and respectful manner with the least possible decay. And since most caskets and coffins are often provided with bars or railings on the side, pall-bearers can safely carry the body to the burial site. With the body being encased in a coffin, the deceased can be lowered safely and in a respectful manner into the grave without causing much of a disturbance.

  • Provides the deceased with a peaceful home
Many family members might not be comfortable with the idea of burying their close ones directly in the ground, in other words also known as Natural Burial. With a coffin, they can provide the deceased with a safe and private resting space, protected from the environment and other elements.
Moreover, both coffins and caskets are also lined and padded with soft materials that provide cushioning and a snug fit to the body. This allows family members to take comfort in the fact that they were able to lay the deceased to rest in a peaceful home.
  • Protects funeral home staff, friends, and family
Being in close contact with the deceased comes with many health risks due to the onset of decomposition. This is especially true in the case of deaths due to infectious diseases and illnesses. By encasing the body in a coffin, you can avoid the spread of diseases and infections due to being in close proximity.
In addition to protecting funeral home staff, who are often tasked with the responsibility of preparing the deceased for a burial, coffins also act as a protective barrier for both friends and family members involved in the last rites of their loved ones before a burial.
  • Enables funeral services
Many might want to conduct a final farewell service before laying their deceased to rest. With a coffin, family members can conduct a respectful funeral service surrounded by friends and other relatives. That said, a coffin is more practical for services where the body of the deceased is not displayed for a viewing.
On the other hand, when it comes to funerals with open viewing, caskets are seemingly the better option. If you’re finding it hard to choose a coffin vs a casket for a funeral service, remember that there’s no right choice. The ultimate decision on whether a coffin or a casket is right for a funeral service rests with the family members of the deceased.


The Right Coffin Can Help You Find Peace After A Loved One’s Passing 

The knowledge that your closest ones have been laid to rest through a dignified burial makes it easy for family members to find solace. And a coffin is an integral part to this entire process of moving on from the loss that you suffered. 

You can also place a few items or memorabilia in the coffin before burying it as a way to help you find peace. If you’re wondering what you can put in a coffin before burial, consider placing hand-written notes addressed to the deceased or things that the deceased loved when they were alive.