Why Is a Viewing Casket Only Half Open?

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Viewing caskets are usually half open because of how they are constructed, according to the Ocean Grove Memorial Home. Most of today's caskets are made to be half open. They cannot lie fully open for viewing.

1 Different Construction

The lid of one type of full-open casket can be completely removed for viewing. Otherwise the lid can be locked open in a nearly vertical position. A half-open casket does not have these features, according to the Ocean Grove Memorial Home.

2 Preferences

In most of the country, half-open caskets are used, according to the Curtin Funeral Home. A family who prefers to have a full-open casket should discuss this with the funeral director. Prices for the two types of caskets are comparable.

3 Burial or Cremation

If the body is to be buried the same casket used for viewing will be used. If the body is to be cremated, it is usually removed from a rented viewing casket and transported to the crematory in a light, combustible container.

Lexa W. Lee is a New Orleans-based writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has contributed to "Central Nervous System News" and the "Journal of Naturopathic Medicine," as well as several online publications. Lee holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Reed College, a naturopathic medical degree from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine and served as a postdoctoral researcher in immunology.