Deciding Between Cremation And Burial

Posted on October 22, 2020 by American Heritage under Plan Ahead
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Deciding between cremation and burial is a deeply personal choice for many individuals, who prefer one or the other for environmental, religious or personal reasons. While burial has traditionally been the more common option, cremation has risen in popularity over the years. Many individuals prefer to make their own decisions rather than leave it to their surviving loved ones. Below are some factors to consider when deciding between cremation and burial.

Defining Cremation and Burial

Before we start, let us first define what is meant by cremation and burial respectively.

  • Cremation: During the process of cremation, the body is incinerated such that the only remains are ashes. These ashes can then be scattered, buried or brought home by the family.
  • Burial: With burial, the body remains intact and is usually interred under the ground or entombed.

Personal Reasons

When a loved one passes without having made this important decision for themselves, this decision is passed on to surviving family members. Some people find it hard to make a decision out of the wish to preserve the dignity of their loved one. For some, this means keeping the body whole by choosing burial whereas others might opt for cremation so that their loved one’s body does not have to go through the process of decomposition. There’s no one right answer and whichever you choose, you can be assured that your loved one will be treated with respect and dignity.

Environmental Impact

If minimizing negative environmental impacts are a consideration for you, you will be surprised to hear that there are proponents for both burial and cremation as the more eco-friendly option. Although a number of pollutants are released into the air during the cremation process, preparing a body for burial can make use of certain toxic chemicals. You also have to consider the biodegradability of the casket material. As with any other consideration, there is no right answer and whatever decision you make will have to be the best one for yourself or your loved one.

Religious Practices

Burial has traditionally been the most widely accepted option amongst Christians, however views on cremation can differ based on denomination. Below are the views different religions hold regarding burial and cremation.

  • Christians: Catholicism lifted the ban on cremation in the 1960s, however ashes have to be buried instead of scattered or brought home. Lutheran and Methodist seventh day Adventist churches permit cremation whereas Baptist and most Orthodox churches do not.
  • Jews: While cremation has not traditionally been permitted, some Jews are accepting of the practice today.
  • Buddhists and Hindus: Cremation is required.
  • Sikhs: Cremation is preferred but burial is not forbidden.
  • Muslims: Cremation is forbidden.

Make The Best Decision for Yourself or Your Loved One

It is becoming increasingly common for individuals to pre-plan funeral services so that their grieving loved ones do not have to. While this may initially be a difficult topic to broach, it is actually an incredibly caring thing to do as it not only reduces stress for your loved ones, it ensures things are exactly as you would have liked them to go. At American Heritage Cemetery Funeral Home Crematory, we believe that the entire experience should be as stress-free as possible.

If you would like to start the conversation about pre-planning or need help with planning a service for your loved one, please do not hesitate to contact us through our online form today.