Though many would not realise the historical, mythological, cultural and religious aspects behind the wood type of a coffin or casket, taking time to really consider the materials that will carry your loved one can make a huge difference in how personal your funeral service is. Trusted funeral directors are the best resources to get help from before making decisions on coffins or caskets.
If your loved one was known as a provider of the family, or was a strong person that many people looked to for support, then an oak coffin or casket could be an option. Known as the “King of the Green Kingdom” within Celtic mythology, the oak tree is universally regarded as a symbol of endurance, durability, purity and constancy. Its attraction for lightning, its size and longevity (most oak trees are over 200 years of age) all make the oak a powerful, life-affirming symbol. In other cultures, it is seen as wholesome, stable, and noble, and a provider of stability and strength. The famous “round table” at King Arthur’s court was made from a single cross section of a large oak.
If your loved one was known for their determination and ability to fulfill their dreams, consider a pine coffin or casket. Also referred to as the “Tree of Peace”, pine is seen as a symbol for achieving your dreams and reaching for the stars. The pine tree also symbolises eternal life, and represents the continuity and renewal of life. Other symbolic characteristics include serenity, tranquility, rising above difficulties, resistance, vigour, determination, strength, rejuvenation, protection, inner strength, and understanding.
For someone who was known to be a peace keeper with a calming presence, or had traditional values, then an olive wood coffin and casket would be suitable. From the popular phrase of “handing an olive branch” to various references in religious texts, the olive tree has become a well-known symbol of tradition, peace, victory, strength, purification, fruitfulness, insight, and inspiration.
If you’re loved one was a healer of some sort – maybe they were a doctor or nurse, or provided care for the sick – then a cedar wood coffin and casket can be considered. The cedar tree has been synonymous with healing, cleansing, protection, and peace since ancient times. It is also seen as a symbol for strength and survival through hard times and is highly regarded in Native American ceremonies.
Was your loved one invested in the creative arts? Or did they work in law or legal matters? If so, then a blackwood coffin or casket would be a suitable choice. This particular type of wood is renowned as an emblem of creativity, intellectualism, legal matters, and leadership.
If your loved one was considered a wise person – perhaps the people around them sought their advice on various issues, or maybe they were a teacher, or they may even have just loved to read and learn new things – then a walnut coffin or casket could be an option. The walnut tree is also believed to symbolise clarity, focus, intelligence, inspiration, confidence, mental wisdom, endurance of hardship, individuality and freedom of expression.
A person who was quite spiritual during their life may be buried in a mahogany coffin or casket. Mahogany wood is highly regarded around the globe as a symbol of spirituality, guidance, healing, strength, and endurance.
If your loved one was known for their generosity, kindness and warmth, then a rosewood coffin or casket can be considered. Rosewood is seen a universal symbol of compassion, love, beauty, spirituality, nourishment, and kindness.
If your loved one was a traveller, or was known for their rebellious and adventurous nature, than a maple wood coffin or casket is an option. The maple tree is seen as a symbol for balance, promise, rebelliousness, toughness, creation, communication, revolution, rebirth, healing, beauty, art, abundance, imagination, originality, travel, intellectuality, and learning. If you would prefer some assistance when choosing aspects of a funeral service like coffins and caskets, most funeral companies are happy to help you.