As recently as 50 years ago, the majority of Americans chose burial over cremation. But today, cremation is more widely accepted, with only about half opting for burial over cremation. There are a variety of reasons for this cultural shift, and it’s not all about cost.
Top 5 reasons people are choosing cremation
Lower cost. Cremation is considerably a lower-cost service than a traditional burial. In particular, cremation tends to be more popular in areas where gravesites are more expensive, such as mountains and coastal areas.
Flexibility for services. In a traditional burial, the memorial service or funeral should occur shortly after death. Even though bodies are embalmed, services are usually planned about 4 to 10 days after death to provide out-of-town family members time to make travel arrangements. But with cremation, there is no need to rush a service. Often the family will have a private viewing of the deceased before cremation. Then a larger funeral or memorial service can be planned at a later time, giving family members the time to grieve without having to plan a large service immediately.
Environmentally friendly. Embalming involves the use of chemicals, which can leak into the groundwater. Materials are needed for coffins, and cemeteries use up a lot of land. Choosing cremation leaves a smaller carbon footprint after death.
Religion. Although some religions still forbid it, many religions today accept cremation.
Families are spread out. Holding a memorial service and having a burial at the local church used to be a common occurrence. But families can be spread out all across the country. Choosing cremation can give family members more time to get together to honor their loved one. They are not tied down to a particular location.
The importance of planning.
If you have specific wishes regarding burial or cremation, be sure to let your family know what you want. It’s not always a topic that is discussed among families. But if you have made your wishes known, your loved ones won’t have to try to guess what you would have wanted. It’s better to have talked about your wishes, then to have family members worried they may be making the wrong choices after you are gone.
Regardless of whether you choose cremation or burial, you can have a special ceremony to honor your loved one. Getting everyone together to share their memories can be comforting and the first step in dealing with your grief. Cremation does not mean that you cannot have a beautiful ceremony for your loved one.