Choosing Between Cremation and Burial

Posted: 26/10/2017


Some people can find it troubling to choose between the method of cremation or a traditional burial.

Some do not have to deliberate between the two as in some cultures and religions cremation is forbidden, such as Judaism and Islam. Likewise, burial is frowned upon and cremation is the preferred method in other regions and cultures, such as Hinduism and Buddhism. For people of a region which does not specify what to do with the dead or for someone who is non-religious and secular, it can be hard to decide what you want to do with the body of a deceased person or your own body following your death.

It is the case that statically it is more common nowadays for people to choose a cremation over a traditional burial. Nevertheless, this choice is an extremely personal decision to made by the individual and their family. But when pitted against each other, what are the pros and cons of both cremation and burial so that you can make your own mind and the families mind up if you are toying between the two?

Positives of Cremation, Negatives of Burial

The price of a funeral with a cremation tends to be the cheaper option of the two for many reasons. Direct cremation avoids the added costs that are associated with the funeral service, embalming and visitation. The price of a funeral with a traditional burial is a lot more expensive.

Cremation also means that you may not have to pay for a “place of rest” which takes up land space – grave sites can be extremely expensive. However, if you want to scatter ashes on a gravesite you will still have to pay a fee, although it is more likely to be cheaper than buying a grave site.




Cremation is also favoured by many because it can reduce the body to ashes within a matter of hours, whereas the traditional burial process of a sloe and natural decomposition is off-putting to a lot of people.

With cremation, your family has the option to keep your remains close to them in an urn, rather than in a casket beneath the ground. Furthermore, you can choose to scatter the remains in a place outside of a gravesite – you cannot simply bury a body anywhere.

Due to the global nature of the modern world with families being dotted all around the country, cremation may be more effective rather than burying a person in the ground in a specific place where some family may not be able to visit. The cremated remains can be scattered anywhere, flown aboard, floated on water, made into an item such as a necklace or ring and so on.

In some religions, cremations are viewed as holy and a necessary process in the funeral service. Take, for example, Hinduism. In Hinduism, it is customary to be cremated rather than burial because of our beliefs about the relationship between the body and the soul. It is believed that the soul is not bound to one body and can reside in a number of bodies. Hindus see the body as a kind of misprision for their soul, stopping them to reach the final destination of freedom. Cremation, therefore, is a method used when a person has died to sever ties between the soul and the earthly body so that the soul can move on.

Positives of Burial, Negatives of Cremations

A lot of people respect the natural cycle of life and death and prefer a way of decomposing which is natural which burial allows for. These people may view cremation as hurrying the process along and may find this distasteful.

Despite some people being put off by the idea of slow decomposition, burial is a safe and effective way of dealing with a dead body.

Cremation is an irreversible process, so it is absolutely essential to be sure about your decision. Burial, if early enough in the process, is technically “reversible” and a family can opt to cremate the body instead.

In terms of religion, burial has its spiritual positives. Take for example Judaism. In Jewish tradition, it is preferred that the body remain ‘intact both in life and in death. If a person is cremated they will not be around for when the coming of the messiah happens, triggering the messianic age. The messianic age involves allowing all those who have passed can join the new-found state of the world, where there will be peace amongst all nations and a universal acceptance of the Jewish God, and do to this they must be buried (intact). The Talmud (Jewish Scripture) states “You must bury him in entirety, not partially”.

Always Keep in Mind… 

Don’t forget in all of this to respect the wishes of the deceased. Whilst there is no legal obligation to follow the instructions left by the person who has died, it is considered extremely distasteful to ignore them unless they are impossible requests.

If a person decides to be cremated following their death and you disagree or vice versa, you should really respect their wishes despite your own opinion. Each person will ultimately have their own wants and desires when it comes to cremation or burial due to a variety of factors.

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