It’s no secret that cremation is gaining in popularity and continues to outpace traditional burials. According to the National Funeral Director’s Association, the percentage of people choosing cremation is expected to surpass 70% by the year 2040, while conventional burials will decrease to around 16%. But why the shift and will conventional burials become a thing of the past? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at why cremation is becoming more widespread and why traditional burials will always be appealing to some. 

Why do people choose cremation?

Lower Cost

Hands down the #1 reason people choose cremation is affordability. The average cost of a basic cremation minus any frills such as visiting hours or memorial service is about $2,500, and direct cremation can be as low as $800. Cremation does not require a grave or headstone, and cremation urns are typically cheaper than caskets and don’t require pallbearers. By comparison, the median cost of a burial with a coffin and full funeral home services is about $7,500.

It’s More Personal

With more people breaking from tradition and decoupling religion from death, families and friends are choosing to celebrate death in more unique and personal ways. End of life celebrations are now popping up, taking on many different forms; dinner at a favorite restaurant, a hike on a beloved trail, or a paddle out to a local surf spot. And unlike burials, cremation provides the flexibility to scatter ashes at sea, in your backyard, sprinkled over a reef, planted as a memorial tree, or even shot off in fireworks. Cremation jewelry and tattoos are also gaining popularity as a way to permanently memorialize a loved one.

Newer Ways

A new alternative to standard cremation is now emerging. Twenty states now permit a process called Alkaline Hydrolysis, sometimes called “flameless” cremation, which uses a mixture of pressurized water and chemicals to dissolve the body, making cremation an attractive option to those who previously felt standard cremation by heat or flame sounded ominous.   

Claustrophobia

Some people don’t like the idea of being put into a box and the body decaying over time or potentially being dug up at some point.

Environmental Concerns

While cremation does require a significant amount of energy and releases carbon emissions, generally it is considered the “greener” and eco-friendlier option. There is no harsh embalming fluid released into the soil that could pollute the water table, the wooden caskets used in burials are not completely biodegradable, and even eco-friendly caskets are typically encased with a concrete burial vault. 

Availability

Cemeteries are running out of space, and many suburban communities are being designed without cemeteries, making cremation an attractive option.

Mobility

Cremation can be attractive for practical reasons, like not expecting a gravesite to be maintained years after anybody who knew or cared about that person is long gone.  And with families being less nuclear and spreading out more, what has previously been the “family plot” may no longer make sense. Cremation provides the opportunity to have more than one memorial site or to keep a loved one’s ashes in an urn for easy transportation.

Common reasons why people choose burial over cremation.

Traditional

Burial is the more traditional choice, and, in many ways, burial is often considered the default method of saying goodbye and honoring a loved one. For conventional folks, a burial will always be appealing, and for most people, when they think of a funeral, they generally envision a casketed burial service following a memorial service.

Follows Religious Requirements

Another big reason why burial is chosen over cremation is due to religious beliefs. For Christian families, the concept of resurrection of the body is deeply held by many and makes burial an act of religious ceremony. Jewish families and those practicing Islamic traditions also have strong religious and social commitments to burial.

Permanent Gravesite 

One of the main benefits of choosing burial is that it provides a permanent gravesite or mausoleum to visit when needed. For many people, having a place where they can physically go to visit their loved one aids their grieving process and helps them feel connected to their loved one even though they are no longer part of the physical world. 

Allows a Proper Goodbye

For many, a full funeral with a burial service provides the most meaningful way to mourn the loss of a loved one. Watching the coffin being lowered into the ground often gives people the closure they need and is seen by many as a very fitting final goodbye.

Being Buried Together

Burial offers the ability to be laid to rest alongside your spouse, family member, or any significant loved one. Family, single or companion plots are purchased in advanced or perhaps are already in the family. This sense of being alongside loved ones for an eternity offers a strong sense of security and peace for some people.   

Body is Respected

The misconception of a body burning makes some people uneasy about cremation, or they feel that cremation does not give the body the respect it deserves. Having a burial where the body is placed in a beautiful casket, dressed in their nicest attire and where family members can place special mementos into the casket, makes it more meaningful for some.

Cremation Society of Philadelphia offers easy to arrange services and affordable plans for your final needs. Our expert team of funeral directors, expert funeral planners, cremation providers, are compassionate and understanding. Our crematorium prides itself on providing simple, easy-to-arrange cremation services in Philadelphia at an affordable cost.

If you are considering cremation as your end of life choice, contact Cremation Society of Philadelphia today: (610) 572-7078.