When planning ahead for end-of-life preparations, or making arrangements following the loss of a loved one, many families struggle with choosing between cremation or a traditional burial. Here are some things to consider that may help make the choice easier.
The Difference Between Cremation and Burial
Both cremation and burial practices have been in existence for centuries as a method of final disposition. During the cremation process, a body is incinerated until all that remains is ash. Whereas during a burial, the body is allowed to naturally decompose over time. Both are common and safe methods of handling remains.
With burials, the body may be interred in the ground or entombed in a mausoleum above ground. Bodies are embalmed before being placed in a casket. At Found and Sons Funeral Chapels & Cremation Service, we require caskets to be enclosed in a burial vault to prevent the ground from sinking.
Cremated remains, on the other hand, can be kept in an urn, scattered in a way that is meaningful to the deceased, placed in a columbarium, interred in the ground, or entombed in a mausoleum. Some religious practices may require that the cremated remains are kept together and stored or displayed in an approved location.
Both cremation and burial processes can take place at any time. For example, shortly after the deceased has passed away, after a traditional funeral service has taken place, or before a memorial service.
Consider the Deceased’s Wishes and Religious Affiliation
The choice between cremation or burial is often deeply personal. For example, some families prefer to choose burial out of a desire to show respect for their loved one’s body. Other families feel that allowing the body to decay has the opposite impact. This is why making pre-planning arrangements and having these conversations with family members is often so important.
Many religions have differing views on cremation and burials. The Roman Catholic Church has stated that bodies may be cremated, but the ashes must be buried in a cemetery or sacred location. Some Christian denominations (incl. Baptist and the Eastern Orthodox Church) do not support cremation, while others such as the Methodist Seventh-Day Adventists and Lutheran churches do. Judaism has traditionally recommended against cremation, although some sects have relaxed their stance over the years.
Alternatively, cremation is a required practice for some Eastern religions (Hinduism and Buddhism). Sikhs tend to prefer cremation, but do not prohibit burial, while Muslim cultures forbid cremation.
Additional Factors to Consider
Religious beliefs and personal preference are perhaps some of the most important things to consider when choosing between cremation and burial. However, there are other things to keep in mind as well, such as cost and environmental impact. Cremation is typically a more cost-effective service compared to burial.
When it comes to the environment, there are different points of view. The cremation process results in high emissions; however, burials require a significantly larger footprint of land.
Still struggling to choose? We understand, and we’re here to help. Our professional team can walk you through the pre-planning process, one step at a time, and help you choose the options that work best for you. Visit our website to learn more about our services, or call (800) 207-3530 for one-on-one assistance.