Funerals: is the casket always facing left?

We had a friend pass away recently. After the service I wondered why, every time I’ve been to a funeral, if the remains are shown the casket always faces with the head towards the left?

I’ll admit my experience is so far limited to perhaps half a dozen ceremonies during my adult life, so I don’t know for sure that this is always the case.

(Yes, you do reflect on odd things at funerals; friends and life and family and other deep thoughts. And sometimes random oddities like this one.)

because thats the way theyre hinged?

>because thats the way theyre hinged?


But aren’t coffins symetrical? It doesn’t seem that hard to move the pillow from one end to the other…or have there been advances in coffin technology that I haven’t heard about?

Not all coffins are symmetrical; even those big fancy ‘guaranteed seal’ (what’s that all about, anyway?) ones are sometimes tapered towards the foot.

No, caskets don’t always the “head end” facing the left as you look at it from the pews. Some services have the body running north/south, with the head facing the altar.

There’s a mechanism (at least there was in my Grandfather’s coffin) that raises the upper body for the viewing. I doubt that the same mechanism is on the opposite end. I suspect this is a case of “it’s always been done this way”

Most people are right-handed, and some people may want to touch the body. If the coffin was turned the other way, the viewer’s body would be facing the feet when the viewer’s right hand was closest to the coffin. With the body’s head to the left, the viewer’s right hand is closest to the corpse when the viewer is looking at its face. (WAG.}

My likeness cast in brass
We’ll stand in plastic grass
While hidden weights and springs
Tip its hat to the mourners filing past

– John Denver, Forest Lawn