Cremation is a popular alternative for traditional burial services. Its popularity dates to the Greeks who practiced it as far back as 1,000 BC. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, cremation is rapidly becoming a widely accepted method of disposition all across North America. This trend continues to expand in almost all states with almost 50 percent of all funerals including cremation. It is estimated that approximately 37,000 cremations take place each year in Philadelphia as families seek more viable options for dealing with the death of a loved one.
Cremation: A Dignified and Affordable Choice
There are various reasons why families choose cremation instead of opting for a traditional burial. The primary reason given for deciding on cremation is that it offers an affordable alternative in a slow economy. The average cost of a traditional funeral and burial can range between $6000 and $10,000 or more. Cremation is much more affordable than a burial. A typical casket alone can cost as much as $2000. In contrast, a simple cremation with a basic memorial service only costs about $1,500. Many families choose to eliminate the memorial service, which lowers the cost significantly.
The Environmentally Conscious Prefer Cremation
Environmental concerns are another one of the major factors driving the popularity of cremation. Cemeteries require occupying large plots of land in a country where space is at a premium in some areas. Choosing cremation eliminates the need for burial plots, thus freeing up more space. Many express concern about the toxicity of embalming and the use of caskets. Cremation offers families the opportunity to dispose of remains in a way that is much more environmentally friendly.
Cremation Accepted By Faith
Religion has always played a leading role in prohibiting the practice of cremation. Looser religious restrictions are a key factor in the growing trend toward acceptance of cremation and more non-traditional funerals. Even the Catholic Church has changed its views regarding this practice. Even though it prefers traditional burial, a funeral mass is now permitted with cremated remains.
Cremation Becoming Part of the American Culture
The traditional family structure has undergone major changes in recent years resulting in a new model of the American family. Nuclear families continue to decline as people move away from hometowns and relatives. The once traditional family cemetery is outdated. Today’s families tend to choose a much more non-traditional funeral with cremation rather than adhering to the traditional funeral experience. Many choose to scatter the ashes of the deceased in the ocean, in the mountains, on the desert, or other beloved place. Memorial services that celebrate the life of the loved one are much more prevalent today than even a few decades ago.
A lack of understanding regarding the practice of cremation contributed to its mystery. Increased education has made families much more knowledgeable about this once taboo practice. In Philadelphia, like many other cities throughout the country, cremation has become the most popular practical alternative to traditional burial practices. It gives grieving families a sense of closure and provides dignity to the memory of their loved ones while eliminating unnecessary stress and financial burdens.
If you’ve recently lost a loved one, contact the Philadelphia Cremation Society: (610) 572-7078