Cremation or burial?

Never an easy subject to discuss, but understanding the differences between a cremation and a burial is important.

When a loved one dies, we must decide, among other aspects, the type of burial that we will give them. Cremation or burial are the two possibilities that funeral homes offer us to be able to dismiss the body. However, which of these two options is the best?

While burials are often the most common funeral practice globally, cremations have been growing in popularity rapidly. Every family is different, and not all people want the same type of funeral. Both religious and cultural traditions, costs, and personal preferences influence your final choice.

If you are deciding between a burial or a cremation for yourself or a loved one, here are some factors you can consider.

Cremation

In recent years this has become the most popular option due to its lower cost, in comparison to a burial.

Cremation consists of the body’s incineration in a crematorium using high temperature, pressure, and vaporization mechanisms that disintegrate the body.

This process has multiple benefits that we will mention below:

1. Cremation is a quick and easy process that only takes a few hours.

2. Over the years, the Catholic Church has come to accept cremation’s popularity and has included it in its ceremonies.

3. Cremation services offer more environmentally friendly treatment of the corpse and save space in cemeteries. If you wish, you can have the cremated remains placed in an urn along with a small plaque that indicates the deceased’s name, the date of her death, and an emotional message.

4. Cremation is a cheaper process since its services are simpler, and it requires lower costs in the purchase of products and services. If you are still interested in lowering costs further, you can request direct cremation services (that is, without a farewell ceremony).

5. You will be the one who decides what will be the final resting place of the ashes. These ashes can be given to family members or buried in a mausoleum, placed underground, or dispersed in the sea or river.

Cremation also has its downside:

1. Some people do not consider this option because they have a hard time thinking that their loved one is going through the cremation process.

2. There is no specific place to go to commemorate the deceased if the remains are scattered.

3. In many religions, such as Judaism or Islam, the body’s cremation is prohibited as it is considered a disgrace to the dead.

Burial

On the other hand, funeral homes also offer the conventional option: the burial of the body in a local cemetery.

Although burial is the traditional option upon death, there is currently a new ecological burial trend, considered the ideal option for those who want a farewell in a more natural environment and with less polluting funeral products.

It is a more expensive service than cremation as it includes various services and products such as embalming, burial room rental, casket expenses, flower arrangements, etc.

What are the main reasons someone might have a burial?

  1. At the burial, the body goes through the natural process of progressive decomposition. It is worth mentioning that this process is long and complicated.
  2. Some people may view cremation as an obstacle for the deceased to reach their other deceased loved ones. Therefore, burial is conceived as a respectful ceremony that allows preserving the deceased’s memory and giving them eternal rest.
  3. Many families already have a cemetery plot reserved or own a family plot. There may also be a desire to buy a plot so that family members’ remains can rest in the same place.
  4. At the funeral, you can place a small monument on the deceased’s grave with some emotional words. 

Like cremation, burial has its downside:

  1. Burial is generally much more expensive than cremation due to the process required.
  2. A burial service is not considered environmentally friendly because coffins, burial vaults, and embalming chemicals that enter the ground intoxicate the environment
  3. If your plan is to move to another place in the future, visiting the person’s grave will become more difficult, especially for those who usually make weekly or monthly visits.

Conclusion

Considering all the above points, we suggest that once you have decided between a cremation or burial for your loved one, ask for prices at various funeral homes, compare all the costs, and decide what type of service is more in line with your budget, the needs, beliefs, or wishes of the family.