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What is Better Cremation or Burial?

Why should one choose Ash Cremation over the Traditional Cemetery Burial

In today's world, when one thinks of death, one of the most important questions that comes to mind is whether cremation or burial is the better choice. Unfortunately, the answer is somewhat elusive. Whether someone is cremated or buried after death is largely a function of values, whether personal or family. In short, there is not a correct answer to this question. That said, it is true that, in most cases, cremation is less expensive than burial, so finances can also play a big role in the decision as well. Whatever the choice, families and individuals faced with this question will usually benefit from some knowledgeable advice. This article aims to provide that sort of help.

Why is Cremation usually less Expensive than Burial?

In general, experts will tell you that cremation is less expensive than burial because it does not involve tying up the limited resource of real estate space for an indefinite period of time. To remain financially viable, cemeteries that house bodies that have been buried must ask their customers to pay a sufficient amount to allow for interest to cover the cost of care for the land in perpetuity. This adds significantly to the overall price tag of memorializing a loved one. To that total, burial also typically requires the purchase of a casket and a grave marker, both of which are optional purchases for a burial – and the minimum cost for these is usually about $1,500 each. Meanwhile, no accessory purchases are required for a cremation. Even cremation urns – which are not required because, in most cases, crematories will return the ashes to a family in a “temporary container” for not additional charge – can be found quite readily for $100 or less. It is important for those considering this question of whether cremation or burial is best to understand this final note about cost: just because cremation expenses are usually less than those for burial does not mean that cremation will always be the less expensive choice. It is possible to spend a great deal of money on a cremation, with the purchase of elaborate urns, columbarium space, a grave plot in which the ashes will be buried, and even a memorial statue or grave stone.

Which do most people prefer Cremation or Burial?

This question is a toss up. Technically speaking, burial is still the most popular of the two methods of disposing of a body. But not by much, and cremation is so quickly gaining in popularity that, by the time you are reading this, the last sentence may no longer be true. While the statistics show that, in the United States, a little more than 35 percent of deaths result in cremation, that figure is approaching 70 percent world wide, and it is growing very fast in the United States as well. Experts predict that cremation will eventually account for up to 90 percent of the deaths world wide, but that will likely take at least another 25 years to achieve. And, as they say, a lot can happen in 25 years. We may never see that day, in fact.

What are Advantages to Cremation?

Aside from cost, as we have already mentioned, cremation offers the benefit of flexibility. Families of loved ones who have been cremated have a wide variety of options for remembering and memorializing their beloved. They can scatter the ashes across a special place – or several special places. They can bury the ashes in a cemetery plot. They can display the ashes in a special urn in a family home. They can divide the ashes amongst several places with the use of smaller-than-average sized keepsake urns. And they can store small portions of the remains in cremation jewelry, pieces that have tiny compartments in which ashes can be placed and worn discretely by family members. In short, cremation provides families with an almost unlimited number of options for memorializing a loved one.

What are Advantages to Burial?

While cremation and burial are both outlawed by some religions, burial is the most commonly accepted method among religious leaders. Hinduism and other Eastern religions generally discourage burial in favor of cremation, but almost all other religions prefer burial (or express no preference whatsoever as is the case with most of Christianity). Burial is also often considered the most comfortable approach for grieving loved ones. While many cremation funerals involve an open casket in which a body is put on display for mourners to pay their final respects, the idea of cremation is still upsetting to some for whom the loss of a loved one is emotionally difficult. Burial, with its accompanying memorialization in a cemetery gives mourners a sense of having a permanent place by which to remember their loved one, a grave site and cemetery grave headstone. This is a great advantage for many families and is probably the reason why, as of this writing at least, burial is still the most popular choice in the United States.

Who can help me Decide between the Two?

Those who are having trouble deciding between cremation and burial are probably best advised to consult a trusted religious leader in their lives. The most important thing to consider is that this is a personal choice. There is no correct answer, in general. Each individual, and his her family, must consider all alternatives carefully and simply go with the choice that best fits.

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