There has been a rising tide in the acceptance of the practice of cremation in Pennsylvania and across North America over the past several decades. In fact, the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) has long touted the fact that cremations in North America will exceed 55 percent of all final dispositions by the year 2025. There are many reasons why the acceptance of cremation has been on the rise, including an ever decreasing amount of land available for traditional burial.

In an interesting article out of South Korea, it appears the small nation is encountering many of the same factors we are experiencing here in North America that are hastening the acceptance of the once taboo practice of cremating a loved one.

In addition to a limited amount of land available for ground burials, the culture of South Korea has been rapidly changing from agrarian to urban, meaning prior practices of returning to the final resting place of loved ones on the anniversary of their death is less and less possible. The time for travel from the city to one’s home village has become untenable in modern day South Korea. It is estimated that one in six of the 14 million graves in South Korea are unable to be taken care of by family members. 

The idea of a “grave without a family” has struck the South Korean culture to its core and has been instrumental in driving the acceptance of the practice of cremation in the Asian nation. Where, in 1991, only 17.8 percent of the population opted for cremation, most recent figures show that number upwards of 74 percent.

“Korean funeral culture is completely transformed to cremation from the traditional custom of burial,” Park Tae-ho, head of the Korean burial culture council, said.

“As a form of nuclear family has become typical and people are busy working in cities, few people can take care of graves, making people prefer cremation to traditional burial,” he added.

The increased demand has required action from the Korean Ministry of Health & Welfare, which plans to build 13 new crematorium facilities in the next two and a half years.

Much like in North America, the population of South Korea also recognizes the cost benefit that cremation provides. Low cost cremation provides a significant motivation over more expensive traditional burial.

The factors behind the rising acceptance of cremation are many and varied. The Philadelphia Cremation Society recognizes that individuals arrive at their decision for their own reasons and is committed to providing low cost direct cremation to Pennsylvania families in their time of need. If you’ve recently lost a loved one, contact the Philadelphia Cremation Society: (610) 572-7078