Burial vs Cremation - which is the right choice for you

These days more people are deciding against traditional burials and opting to be cremated when they die. There are various reasons for this. While some religions are against cremation and want the body to stay intact (Orthodox Judaism, Eastern Orthodox Church, and Islam) more are now open to the idea. Hinduism actually sees cremation as a useful way of disposing of the body which helps the departed soul on its way into the next stage. Christians may be more drawn to a ground burial because it is reminiscent of the burial of Christ.


Erasing the Cremation Stigma

These days, people are much less fearful of cremation and view it from a practical perspective. There are people like cremation because it is better for the environment, or just enjoy the simplicity of the idea. Cremation can be the more economic option, since you don’t have to pay for a casket, grave plot, or headstone. Direct cremation is the least expensive because you don’t have to pay for visitations, embalming, or a funeral service, although that might be something worth discussing with your family. It’s the living who are going to have to live through your loss, and the transition may be easier with a service that guides their farewells.

Cremation isn’t a new trend; it is actually a funeral rite that is centuries old. It just happens to be growing in popularity again. Japan has a high percentage of cremation (97%), which makes sense since the island is already overcrowded with the living. And these days, land is in high demand all over the world as the population grows. An urn takes up much less room than a grave, and if you choose to have your ashes thrown outside you can choose any spot for your remains to be distributed. Or you can choose to have your ashes scattered by a plane, buried in a smaller plot, floated on water, or entombed in a crypt in a mausoleum. Even Britain and Scandinavia have more cremations than burials now, and the practice has more than tripled in North America since 1973.

Cremation Doesn’t Mean No Funeral

Burial services and cremation services don’t differ unless you prefer them to be changed. Both services offer prayers, music, and recitations of your choosing. Either way there will be viewing and visitation arrangements to make, and if you have a casket you can decide whether it will be open or closed for any amount of time. There will be a reception at the funeral home, church, or another location of the family’s choosing. Your funeral director will help make those arrangements. There will also be a memorial or prayer service where your casket or urn can be on display as a symbol for a final farewell.

Your family needs a chance to say goodbye through ceremony, and that will be achieved whether your body is in a casket or an urn. Each choice is a safe way of handling the body’s remains, although because cremation is irreversible you should make sure you are certain in your choice. The music, readings, and memorial are their time to slowly accept that the soul has left the body. Beyond that, the burial and goodbyes are mostly symbolic. Funeral services are a comfort to the living, and no matter what form your body is in your loved ones will make their transition from pain to resolution.

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Amy Wright is the Lead Editor of Remodeling Central. When she isn't playing with her dogs she is trying to remodel a classic Chicago style brownstone with her husband.

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