Are you considering cremation, for yourself or for a loved one?
Perhaps you've never thought about it before. But now, for whatever reason, it's a big question. Is cremation the best option? Or should you go with the traditional casket, funeral, and cemetery burial?
Perhaps you're thinking about your own mortality and asking yourself deep, penetrating questions about life, death, and your legacy. Or maybe a loved one has died unexpectedly, and you find yourself overwhelmed with all the options for body disposition.
In any event, you're asking the question: Why do people get cremated?
Here are some reasons, from the practical to the philosophical to the whimsical.
Why Do People Get Cremated?
Practical reasons why people get cremated
Cremation is easy to obtain, affordable, simple, and enables a wide variety of options for disposition and services.
- Cremation is the most common alternative to traditional casket burial
- Cremation is more affordable/budget-friendly
- Avoids stress and the potential of putting the family in debt due to funeral costs
- It allows more flexibility for planning a memorial service, burying the ashes, scattering, etc
- You can plan a service or scattering when all the close friends and family members can attend
- Cremated remains ("ashes") take up less space
- It doesn't require an expensive casket, additional body transportation, large burial plot, etc
- All those things (casket, embalming, etc) are seen as wasteful
- You can avoid all the fluff and fuss of viewings, visitations, embalming, etc
- The remains can be moved (if kept in a cremation urn) rather than being interred permanently at a cemetery
- If the family is prone to moving, or if they died in another location, cremation makes transportation much simpler
- Instead of purchasing a permanent burial plot, some people lease a plot for a certain number of years, then when the lease runs out they are cremated
Heartwarming & whimsical reasons why people choose cremation
Some ideas people apply to cremation include keeping loved ones close, mixing or "commingling" their ashes with those of a spouse, being scattered into the sea and thus throughout the whole world, and "returning to earth."
- People want to have that sense of keeping their loved one "close" in a cremation urn at home
- Feeling more connected to a loved one by having their ashes (or a portion) near
- You can keep your loved one "close to your heart" at all times with cremation memorial jewelry
- Cremation is seen as less traditional and "formal," allowing more personal customization
- Ashes can be mixed, aka commingled, which many see as very romantic - "together again"
- Scattering at sea sends out their loved one into the whole world (and into the ocean, which they loved)
- You can have the ashes scattered at a special location - the place he proposed, a favorite hiking or fishing spot
- Burial or scattering of ashes is a more direct "return to the earth"
- There is a sense of unrestricted freedom and independence when ashes are scattered
- They want to be buried near loved ones, who are buried elsewhere
- Some want their ashes divided among family members
Read more: Dividing Ashes: How & Why This Is Done
Emotional & personal reasons why people choose cremation
People often have concerns and fears surrounding burial, and thus prefer cremation to alleviate those worries.
- Some don't like the idea of traditional burial:
- Trapped in a box
- Slowly decaying
- Aversion to worms and bugs
- Fear of being buried alive - cremation ensures that doesn't happen
- Some people just don't like graveyards, and don't want their body going there
- Caskets have come out of the ground due to natural disasters (floods, earthquakes) or other reasons (exhumation, uprooted to make way for a freeway, etc)
Religious reasons why people get cremated
Some faith traditions practice cremation, others forbid it, and still other religious views lean towards or away from cremation but do not regulate it.
- Some religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, others) have a tradition of cremation
- Other religions (Greek Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism, others) are strongly opposed to cremation; adherents typically follow suit but some people choose cremation in an act of rebellion against a former faith
- Christians have traditionally seen the body as the image of God, which will be raised on the last day, and should thus be honored in burial
- Christianity has long viewed cremation as a pagan practice to be avoided
- Other Christians see modern-day cremation as much different than the ancient idolatrous burning rituals, and view it simply as a fast-forward on the natural process of body decomposition
- On that note, since God is able to raise the bodies of those whose bodies returned to dust thousands of years ago, he is certainly able to raise the bodies of those who have been cremated
Philosophical reasons why people get cremated
- Some view cremation as a sort of 'cleansing by fire'
- Eventually all bodies return to the earth and become dust - cremation just speeds up the process, and has all the other benefits mentioned (cheaper, more flexibility, etc)
- There is an elegance and simplicity to cremation
- The idea that cremation releases the soul from attachment to earth more quickly
- Some people choose to donate their body to science (after which the body is cremated and returned to the family)
Environmental reasons why people choose cremation
- Uses less land than a traditional burial, or even no land if scattered
- Concerns about cemetery overcrowding
- Cremated bodies can more easily avoid embalming, which puts chemicals like formaldehyde in the earth
- You can have your ashes planted to help grow a tree
- Cremation uses (or wastes) less resources, not just land and chemicals but also wood for the casket, the non-biodegradable metal components in a casket, headstone, etc
Quirky & funny reasons why people want to be cremated
- You're less likely to come back as a zombie
- Some people don't like the idea of their body rotting in a box in the ground
- You can do all sorts of things with the ashes - here are 36 non-boring ideas
- Some of those ideas include turning the ashes into a diamond, getting shot off in fireworks or gun ammo, scattered from a hot air balloon or drone, and so on
- It's their last chance for a smokin' hot body
So there are many, many reasons why people decide on cremation. If you or your loved one has chosen to be cremated, then you will probably be interested a fitting and beautiful cremation urn.
Here at Urns Northwest, we specialize in premium urns in a wide variety of styles and personalization options at affordable prices. Our focus is on the very best products delivered to you with the very best customer service.