In previous generations, there was only one basic way to say goodbye to your loved ones or to plan for your own death arrangements. Traditional burials were the accepted form of funeral arrangements. Over the past several decades, however, there has been a shift that allows people more options for when they pass. If the traditional burial is not your thing, you have many options available.
Typical burials involve a lot of costs. Not only do you have to pay for the expense of the plot, but you also have to purchase a casket, have your body embalmed, and then typically pay funeral homes Winnipeg to have both a wake and a funeral. Finally, you have someone bury the casket in the ground. As a growing trend, many are opting to do away with tradition and are considering cremation as an option. In fact, it is reported that cremation is a $17 billion a year business that continues to expand.
Two and a half million people die each year, and in 2011, 42% of those chose cremation over traditional burial. That is twice the number of people in just the last 15 years, according to funeral directors. In some states, the trend is even higher, with as many as 70% of people choosing cremation over burial.
What is responsible for the changing trends?
There are likely many reasons for the change from traditional burial to cremation. The first is that it is less costly and it allows people to have more freedom of choice in where they want to end up. In the past, cremation has been frowned upon by the Catholic church. Up until 1963, Catholicism outlawed the practice altogether. Although the church still prefers that people choose traditional burial options, they no longer ban the practice. In fact, even if you choose cremation, you are still allowed to have a funeral mass, which was not allowed in the past.
Another reason for cremation is that people are more transient. It used to be that most people grew up, lived, and died in the same town around their loved ones. Today, people move around more and choose to live far away from their loved ones and visit. Since hometowns aren’t the norm anymore, having a cemetery plot to visit and pay your respects is not something that most people make a priority. When someone is cremated, you can carry the ashes anywhere, or scatter them to symbolize that the person is everywhere.
The biggest reason for the shift in tradition is the cost of traditional burial versus cremation. On average, a traditional funeral with a burial is upwards of about $6500 or more, with the typical casket costing about $2000. Those costs are just estimated for the actual burial and don’t take into account any ceremonies or other logistics that go into saying goodbye to loved ones. Cremation typically costs about a third of the cost of a traditional burial. So, although it isn’t just about money, that is a significant difference for people who might not have the means to bury someone in the traditional way.
What do people do with the ashes?
One advantage of cremation is that ashes can go anywhere with the family, you can bury them as you would a casket, or you can scatter them at a place your loved one chooses. It is possible to buy an urn that you can keep with you, or buy a small space in order to have a place to visit in the same manner you would with a traditional burial.
The choice of either a traditional burial or cremation is a personal one for both the individual and those who are left behind to grieve. Whichever one you choose, you still honor the person who is gone in the same manner with a memorial service and community around to say goodbye. Cremation is not just about being less expensive; there are times when it allows families to make the occasion special by returning their loved one’s ashes to their favorite place or to keep the urn as a constant reminder of their memory. The good news is that people now have more options than just a traditional burial, and it is all about wishes and making death not the end, but the beginning of keeping cherished memories alive.