Why do They Cover The Legs In a Casket? (Explained)

a casket in which men with covered his legs

Having a casket at a funeral is vital as it relates to various traditions and customs to bid final goodbye to the deceased while covering his body in a casket. This is why you must have seen an open casket funeral as part of custom in various religions. It gives you the opportunity to see your loved one for the last time while he is covered in a casket.

Inside the casket, the deceased’s body is covered by certain religious protocols. But throughout the process, most people ask why they cover the legs in a casket. That belongs to your preference for arranging the funeral of your loved one and for that you may either choose a full-couch casket or a half-couch casket.

Full-Couch CasketFull-Couch Casket

The full-couch casket comprises a single lid inside which the deceased body is placed. This type of casket is typically used in a closed-casket funeral. With 84 inches long and 28 inches wide, the full-couch casket can be an optional choice and in some religions, it is a common belief to display the deceased body in a full-couch coffin.

Half-Couch CasketHalf-Couch style Casket

This is the most commonly appearing casket that comprises two panels separating the upper half of the body from the lower half. The half-couch casket is divided into two pieces that open separately. Many people use half-couch coffins so they may focus on the face of their deceased loved one.

Why do They Cover The Legs In a Casket?Wooden Casket

Based on various religions and family customs, people choose to cover the legs of the deceased one in the casket. There could be many reasons involved. However, funeral directors often recommend doing so due to affordability and for easy transportation in case of tall bodies.

In most parts of the USA, the entire deceased body is covered following religious customs. People are still stuck and unsure at the point that why the feet of the dead body is covered in a casket and what it actually means.

Keep reading to find out more!

Religious or Cultural Norms

From a religious point of view, it is a common belief of covering the torso and legs of the deceased one properly to show respect toward him. However, various religions have various meanings and customs regarding the body covered in a casket. In Judaism, covering the deceased’s legs is important to take care of the modesty of the departed soul. The decision also depends upon the customs of the region you are living in.


When you intend to showcase the entire body of the deceased, you may have to pay for more resources as in this case, the entire body, including legs and feet, needs to be dressed properly. In this case, the embalmer or the funeral director must ensure that the deceased body looks presentable.

However, if you choose to cover the legs in a casket, it can save a lot of time and money. The embalmer, in this case, is required to focus on the top part of the body only. Funerals can be extremely expensive in some regions, so covering a deceased body from the torso, is cost-effective, especially for those who cannot afford a funeral.

Hide The Lower Body In Case of Physical Traumalegs Physical Trauma

If the deceased suffered from any trauma at the bottom area of the body, the funeral home, most of the time, recommends covering the legs of the body in this case.

Even in the case of accidents or any physical injury, covering the legs of the deceased one will not draw the attention of the attendees toward the imperfections and injuries at the lower body part.

Swollen Feet

When a person dies, most of his body parts get swelled due to the body’s natural decomposition. So, it is natural if the feet of the deceased one look swollen. Most of the time, swelling makes it difficult to put shoes on the dead. While embalmers try to make adjustments to the shoes, many embalmers just leave the feet covered with a cloth or blanket.

This is another reason of why most of the times, the legs are covered inside the casket, as it will look weird to show uncovered feet in the casket.

Organ DonationDifferent body organs in a hand

If the deceased had donated his skin tissues which were taken from the lower body region, the body is preserved in a plastic bag to protect it from getting deformed or leaked. This is when most families cover legs in a casket so the lower body is not displayed openly at the funeral.

Funeral Makeup

It gets costlier to hire funeral makeup professionals to apply makeup to the entire body. When the deceased’s family decides to cover the legs in the casket, the makeup professionals work only on the face to make the deceased one look alive and attractive. You can choose whatever option you want, but covering legs to save cosmetic expenses is a cost-effective solution.

To Make the Deceased Face More ProminentDeceased Female Face More Prominent

Covering the legs of the deceased in a casket makes the funeral attendees focus more on the deceased’s face to feel the mutual emotional connection. Since a person’s face has more sentimental values attached to the person, displaying the entire body in the casket does not play a significant role as people are more concerned about seeing the face of the departed body.

If the departed person looks happy or fresh in the casket, it makes his family and friends heal healthier as they consider their departed loved one to be at peace. This emotional concern is another reason of why the coffin casket inside body is covered by the legs.

Fitting ConcernsFitting Concerns in casket

Sometimes, the deceased body does not fit inside a coffin due to the natural decomposition process that happens with the dead body. The embalmer does not harm the body of your loved one to fit inside the casket. Sometimes, it is required to bend the knees of the body to fit it correctly in the casket. In this case, it is required to cover the legs, so the unwanted attention is not dragged toward the lower body.


People have always been curious about why they cover the legs of the deceased body inside the coffin. We hope that this mystery has been solved as most people are unaware of these customs. When you are attending a funeral, it is your responsibility to take care of the funeral etiquette to avoid disrespecting traditions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What is a Coffin?

A coffin is a box that is used to keep the deceased body in at the funeral. 

  • What is a Casket Made of?

The casket is made of natural materials like pine or wicker rattan.

  • What is a Hybrid Casket?

In a hybrid casket, the upper lid ends lower than the traditional half-couch casket and displays the deceased body above the knees.

  • How Long Does a Body Last in the Coffin?

If the coffin is sealed inside the heavy clay ground, it lasts longer. However, if the soil is dry, the body decomposition is quicker. It takes almost 12 years for a dead body to decompose into a skeleton.

  • Is it Allowed to Touch the Dead Body Inside the Casket?

In an open casket funeral, the deceased’s loved ones get emotional and may even touch the dead body. But it should be kept in mind that touching the deceased body is against funeral etiquette, and the funeral director may not allow you to do so.

  • Are Caskets Waterproof?

A casket is made of airtight and waterproof material that protects the body inside the coffin from early decomposition.

  • Who puts the Deceased Body Inside the Casket?

At some funeral homes, the trained staff puts the dead body inside the casket by taking care of certain protocols, while in other funeral homes, machines are used to lift and put the body inside the coffin.

  • Why do People Lock the Casket Before Burying it?

People lock the casket to protect the body of their loved ones from decomposition or to prevent it from moisture, air, or insects from getting inside the casket.

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