Your Guide to Funeral Planning | 11.21.2022

How To Decide Between Burial And Cremation

How To Decide Between Burial And Cremation


Cross Checked By: SCOTT GINSBERG

3 min read

What Is Cremation?

Cremation is a method of disposing of the body of a deceased person by exposing it to high heat and turning it into ashes which can be preserved by the bereaved. In a cremation, the body is essentially reduced to bone fragments in a specialized furnace-like chamber, although the bone fragments are generally referred to as ‘ashes’. 

Although it could take a few days to submit the paperwork and complete the formalities required to arrange a cremation, the actual process during which the body is in the chamber would not be more than four hours. However, there will likely be an additional wait before you get remains that you can take home. Since the ashes can be stored in an urn, you could possibly avoid the expense of buying a casket, especially if you are not having a viewing.

What Is A Burial?

When a deceased person’s body is placed in a grave in the ground, it is known as a burial. The significance of a burial stems from a more traditional approach to death and the afterlife. Having a physical and final resting place for the body of a loved one can provide a lot of solace to those who are grieving. Most people opt to bury their loved one within a casket, but natural burials without the presence of any coffin are gaining popularity as well.

Burial Vs Cremation

Burial and cremation both have their advantages and disadvantages. To make the right decision, you need to consider factors such as your budget, your religious or spiritual beliefs, and your preferences.

Cost Of Burial Vs Cremation

Considering the many expenses that come with funeral planning, it is completely understandable if you are wondering about the cost of burial vs cremation. A lot of people do opt for cremations due to how cost effective they can be. While an average American burial with a service costs around $6,000, a cremation with a memorial service can be organized for as little as $2,000.

Religious Beliefs

There are some religions and cultures which advocate for burials over cremation due to the roots of their faith. However with time cremation has become acceptable even in these cultures. For example, Catholicism has permitted cremations since 1963, though they still prefer burials and advocate for them.

Personal Preference

If you prefer the idea of having your loved one’s remains with you at all time, then ashes are definitely a much more versatile option. You can not only keep them in an urn, but you can also split the ashes into multiple urns if you would like to divide them among people. It is also increasingly common to get cremation jewelry made out of a loved one’s ashes so you can have them on your person all the time. Many people find this much more reassuring than having a grave somewhere that they might not get to visit often.

On the other hand, some people prefer the stability of having a physical space where their loved one can not only rest but also have visitors. Recurring gravesite visits are also a common family tradition and provide a great way to remember a loved one as part of a family or other group of loved ones. That being said, if the deceased had their own preferences about preferring a burial over a cremation or vice versa, it is best to respect their wishes.

Similarities Between Burial And Cremation

You can choose to have the same type of funeral service regardless of whether you opt for a cremation or burial, including opting for embalming and having a viewing. The funeral service can be carried out in the place and manner of your choosing regardless of whether the body is later cremated or buried. Ultimately, the choice between these two methods comes down to spiritual and practical differences.