Traditional burial vs cremation – is there a better option? The decision for after-life care is personal, and the wishes and beliefs of the deceased should always be taken into consideration. Although one option is not better than the other, traditional burial and cremation both have their own pros and cons. Below, we provide a breakdown of each option, along with the pros and cons of each.
The practice of burying the dead has been around for over a hundred thousand years and is perhaps the earliest form of religious practice. Funeral practices are deeply ingrained in culture, and there are many traditions and rituals that are followed around the world, many of which follow traditional burial practices. For example, in Ghana people aspire to be buried in coffins that represent their work or something they loved in life.
Pros of Traditional Burial:
- Burial is generally preferred by the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faiths.
- With traditional burial, the body can be exhumed, if needed.
- The burial place can serve as a memorial and a place where family and friends can visit whenever they wish.
- Traditional burials are the most widely accepted option, so you’re highly unlikely to offend anyone by choosing this option.
Cons of Traditional Burial:
- Burial is generally much more expensive than cremation. The total expense will depend on the funeral services that you choose, but generally, expenses can include embalming, preparing and dressing the remains for viewing, a casket, a viewing room for the wake, a hearse, and funeral ceremonies.
- Traditional burial is not considered environmentally friendly because of caskets, burial vaults, and embalming chemicals entering the ground.
- Cemetery rules can be restrictive. Some cemeteries have strict rules about the type of monument you can have, visiting hours, flowers, and other remembrances.
- A fixed memorial location also has drawbacks, as burial plots might only be visited by loved ones living close to the cemetery.
While traditional burial used to be the most common practice, cremation has been growing in popularity over the last several years. In some areas of the United States, cremation has become more common than traditional burials.
Pros of Cremation:
- Cremation provides a way to easily bring the remains with you, allowing for you to memorialize them even if you move.
- Cremation allows you to put the deceased to rest anywhere, as you aren’t restricted to a cemetery.
- Ashes are much easier to handle and are more flexible than physical remains. With cremation, you can take more time to plan a ceremony and consider how much you can spend.
- Cremation is known to be more environmentally friendly and socially responsible, as it has less impact on the planet than traditional burials.
Cons of Cremation:
- There may be family tension about how the cremated remains are to be memorialized or scattered.
- Without a traditional burial, cremation may be more difficult to explain to a child.
- Some religions frown on cremation, and some family members may feel uncomfortable with the decision to cremate, as burials have long been the traditional practice for the deceased.
- Although cremation is known to be more environmentally friendly, the process of cremation still requires extensive use of fossil fuels, which increases carbon dioxide emissions.
There isn’t a right or wrong answer when it comes to traditional burial or cremation, as each have their own pros and cons. Above all, it’s best to respect your loved one’s final wishes, even if their choice is not the popular option. If you’re still unsure which option is right for you or your loved one, contact us today; our team is happy to help guide you through your decision.