Humans have been burying their loved ones since time immemorial. In 5000 BC, the dead were buried in wooden coffins and then in elaborate caskets as seen in Egypt. Well, coffins are found everywhere in the world and all throughout human history but what is the logic behind using them?
Given below are the emotional and practical purposes that coffins serve so that they can be used in numerous ways for a variety of reasons.
- They protect the body from predators. A lot of scavengers and predators are attracted to corpses. A casket that is sealed deters animals and birds to disturb it once it is buried.
- To Display the body of the deceased. Coffins are often used to display the body at a funeral service, before the burial or cremation. This is important for people to pay their respect and get closure. It is important for people to honour the ones who have passed away and see them one last time. Military funerals often use an acrylic casket to display the brave warriors who died for the country. When famous people like actors, holy figures and saints die, they too are placed in coffins for display.
- Protecting public health. A lot of times people die from communicable diseases. If a person passes away from such an illness, then it is of utmost importance to place the body in a coffin to reduce the chances of people contracting the illness. A coffin further prevents people from contracting the germs, viruses and bacteria from the body and also prevents it from seeping into the ground water and surrounding soil.
- It honours the dead. A lot of people would like to believe that their loved ones are resting and are in deep sleep after they leave them. A coffin becomes a comfortable idea of a final resting place and helps to ease the pain of the person passing away. A coffin is perfect for dead body transfer and has a nicely lined fabric along with a pillow gives an impression of rest and comfort, making it seem like the person is in a small bed. This idea is much more comfortable than placing the person inside the earth without any protection.
To Contain the Scent of Decay
Decaying bodies begin to create an unpleasant scent over time. A coffin can help to contain that smell and reduce the unpleasant sensations associated with death and decay.
To Deter Grave Robbers
It has often been a tradition to bury the dead with items that were precious or important to them in life. Unfortunately, in many parts of the world, this practice has led to people digging up graves to remove precious items or artefacts that may have been laid to rest with the body. Many cultures adopted coffins with features designed to deter or prevent grave robbing, so that their dead could rest undisturbed, along with the things they loved most in life.
To Create a Sense of Closure
Around the world, funeral rites develop to help the living cope with their grief and sense of loss. It is also common to feel confused and overwhelmed when facing the loss of a loved one. During these times, it can be deeply comforting to engage in ritual or ceremonial acts, which help the living feel that they are honouring their loved one and caring for them in death the way they cared for them in life.
Established funeral practices also help guide actions and decisions, so that people avoid confusion and feel that they are taking the correct and appropriate action. So, in a certain sense, we use coffins because it is customary, and because engaging in familiar acts and practices is comforting. The living needs a sense of closure and comfort, and coffins help to provide those things.
Coffins are an important part of death, dead body transport and funeral rites, because they allow the body to rest comfortably, protected from disturbances, and allow the living to feel that they have cared for and respected their loved one.