When faced with the loss of a loved one, one of the most profound decisions families must make concerns the nature of the funeral service, specifically the choice between an open or closed-casket funeral.

This choice is not merely a matter of personal preference but is deeply rooted in cultural, religious and emotional factors.

This introduction explores the significance of opting for a closed casket funeral, shedding light on its impact on the grieving process and commemorating a life remembered.

Open Casket Funerals

An open casket funeral provides a final opportunity for family members and friends to visually say goodbye to a loved one. This type of service involves leaving the coffin open, allowing those attending the funeral a chance to view the deceased’s body one last time.

To prepare for an open casket service, the funeral director oversees the embalming process to preserve the body, ensuring it remains in a viewable condition. This is important, given the natural decomposition process.

The deceased is also dressed in chosen attire, which might be a favourite outfit or significant uniform, potentially requiring adjustments for a proper fit.

Makeup and hairstyling are also applied to recreate the deceased’s appearance and provide a peaceful, respectful image.

Any specific requests from the family regarding the deceased’s physical appearance are addressed, ensuring the person’s look aligns with loved ones’ memories.

The body is then placed in the casket, which is left open at the head, allowing attendees to view and pay their respects.

 

Closed Casket Funerals

A closed casket funeral signifies a service where the coffin remains fully closed at all times, including during any wake or memorial held before the burial.

This choice means attendees do not view the body at any stage of the funeral services with no extensive preparation of the body, like embalming or cosmetic enhancements, unless there was a prior viewing or wake with the casket open.

Instead of viewing the body, closed casket funerals often incorporate traditions that celebrate the life of the deceased and offer solace to the family members and friends in attendance:

  • Memorial photos are commonly displayed, capturing the deceased at various stages of life and highlighting memorable moments.
  • Eulogies, delivered by close ones, provide a platform to share fond memories and stories, painting a vivid picture of the deceased’s character and impact on their community.
  • Symbolic gestures, such as placing a favourite item or memento inside the casket, offer a personal touch that honours the unique preferences or hobbies of the loved one.

 

4 Common Reasons For Holding A Closed Casket Funerals

Choosing a closed-casket funeral is influenced by various factors, reflecting the diverse circumstances and preferences of those arranging and attending the service.

Understanding these reasons can help in making informed decisions during the difficult time of planning a loved one’s funeral.

1. Religious Or Cultural Preferences

Closed caskets are a requirement in some cultural or religious traditions, where the physical appearance of the deceased is not displayed out of respect for religious beliefs or cultural norms.

In fact, many sects of Islamic, Jewish and Amish faiths consider it inappropriate to display the body of the deceased.

By following these traditions, families honour their loved one’s life in a manner that aligns with shared cultural or religious convictions, ensuring that the funeral service respects the deceased’s heritage and the family’s beliefs.

2. Personal Wishes Of The Deceased

Sometimes, the decision to use a closed casket service directly reflects the personal preferences of the person who has passed away.

If the deceased had expressed a wish not to be viewed posthumously, close family members often choose to respect these wishes by arranging a closed-casket funeral.

This respect for the individual’s personal beliefs about death and posthumous presentation underscores the importance of honouring the deceased’s autonomy and personal dignity in their final farewell.

3. Emotional Considerations

The choice of a closed casket can also stem from a desire to protect the emotional well-being of family and friends.

For many, the visual impact of seeing a loved one’s dead body can be overwhelmingly painful, complicating the grieving process.

A closed casket allows mourners to remember the deceased as they were, helping preserve mental images of vitality and happiness.

This consideration can make the funeral service a less distressing experience, focusing on remembrance and celebration rather than the finality of death.

4. Cost And Practicality

Practical concerns such as cost and the logistics of preparing the body can influence the decision towards a closed casket funeral.

Embalming, cosmetic services and other preparations for an open casket viewing can significantly increase funeral expenses.

In cases where resources are limited or the family prefers a simpler, more economical funeral arrangement, a closed casket service becomes a valuable choice.

This option allows families to direct their financial resources elsewhere, possibly towards other expressions of love and remembrance for the deceased.

 

What To Expect At A Closed Casket Funeral Service

Attending a closed casket funeral service can be a profound experience, differing in several ways from open casket services. Here are key points to help you know what to expect and how to offer support:

  • Respect for the Family’s Choice: Understand that opting for a closed casket is often a deeply personal decision made by the family, respecting their loved one’s personal preferences or dictated by specific circumstances such as the condition of the body or cultural beliefs.
  • Focus on the Deceased’s Life: Expect the service to concentrate on celebrating the life of the deceased, with eulogies, readings and music selected to honour their memory.The absence of a visible body shifts the emphasis to their achievements, personality and impact on those around them.
  • Memorial Displays: Closed casket funerals often feature photographs, videos or personal items of the deceased, providing a visual focus and sparking memories of the loved one’s life and times shared.
  • Expression of Condolences: Simple, heartfelt words are most appropriate when offering condolences to grieving family members. Expressions like “I’m so sorry for your loss” or sharing a brief, fond memory of the deceased can be comforting.
  • Offer of Support: Offering practical and emotional support to the family during and after the service is invaluable.Whether it’s assisting with funeral arrangements, providing meals or being there to listen, your support can bring comfort in their time of need.
  • Emotional Preparedness: Be emotionally prepared for a range of reactions from those in attendance, including yourself.The grieving process is unique to each individual, and not being able to see the deceased one last time can affect people in different ways.

    Offering a supportive presence and understanding of the nature of closed casket services can help bring closure and peace to those mourning.

Remember, the key is to approach the funeral with respect, empathy and an open heart, focusing on supporting the family and honouring the memory of the deceased.

 

Conclusion About Closed Casket Funerals

Choosing an open or closed casket funeral is a deeply personal decision that reflects the desires of the deceased and the needs of the grieving family.

It’s a choice rooted in many factors, including cultural beliefs, the condition of the deceased and a collective family preference.

As attendees of such services, it’s important to approach with respect and sensitivity, acknowledging the family’s decisions and their significance.

Offering your support and understanding during these times can be a profound source of comfort to those in mourning.

If you need to arrange an open or closed casket funeral in Singapore, Casket Fairprice stands ready to assist you with compassionate, professional funeral services.

Our team of experienced funeral advisors and our fully equipped facilities, including in-house funeral parlours and embalming services, ensure your loved one’s farewell is handled with dignity and respect.

Contact Casket Fairprice today to learn more about our services and how we can support you in honouring your loved one with the respect and dignity they deserve.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Closed Casket Funerals

What Is The Difference Between A Coffin And A Casket?

The primary difference between a coffin and a casket lies in their design. Coffins are known for their distinctive hexagonal shape, broader at the top for the shoulders and tapering towards the feet, often reflecting the human body’s form.

In contrast, caskets are rectangular, featuring a simple, uniform design with a hinged lid and are typically constructed with higher-quality materials, offering a more polished and refined appearance.

Can A Closed Casket Funeral Include Cremation?

Yes, a closed casket funeral can include cremation. The process typically involves holding the funeral service with the closed casket present, followed by the cremation of the deceased’s body.

This allows families to honour their loved one with a traditional service before cremation, providing a sense of closure and respect for the deceased’s wishes or family preferences.

How Long Does A Closed Casket Funeral Typically Last?

The duration of a closed-casket funeral can vary widely based on the family’s wishes, religious practices and the specific elements included in the service.

On average, a funeral service might last anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour. Factors that influence the length include the number of eulogies, readings, musical selections and any religious or cultural ceremonies that are part of the service.

Can A Closed Casket Be Present At A Celebration Of Life?

No, a closed casket cannot be present at a celebration of life. Celebrations of life are often less formal and focus more on joyfully celebrating the life of the loved one before they pass away. This allows families and friends to tailor the event to their emotional needs and the preferences of the individual.No, a closed casket cannot be present at a celebration of life. Celebrations of life are often less formal and focus more on joyfully celebrating the life of the loved one before they pass away. This allows families and friends to tailor the event to their emotional needs and the preferences of the individual.