Deciding Between Cremation and a Traditional Burial: What You Should Know

It can be challenging to choose options for a funeral service, especially if you’re making arrangements for a deceased loved one, rather than planning for your own funeral. Perhaps the most significant decision to make is the choice between cremation and traditional burials. There is no right or wrong choice, as both are respectful options. When making the decision, consider factors such as your family’s cultural background, personal beliefs, and religious preferences, if applicable.

Your loved one’s preferences should be prioritized.

If you’re arranging funeral services on behalf of a deceased family member, the preferences of that individual should be respected. If the decedent did not create a formal, pre-planned arrangement, you may have to talk to other family members to find out if he or she ever expressed a preference for cremation or burial.

Some cultures consider burial to be more respectful.

Today, cremation is widely accepted by many cultures and belief systems, but some cultures still consider cremation to be less respectful. India, Japan, and Taiwan, for example, have some of the highest cremation rates in the world, whereas Ireland has one of the lowest.

Cremation is acceptable for many faiths and cultures.

Although some faiths strongly condemn cremation, such as Islam, other faiths embrace it, such as Buddhism. Even faiths that previously disapproved of cremation, such as Catholicism, now accept it as a respectful option. If faith strongly influences your family, consider speaking with a spiritual leader about this decision.

Cremation offers greater flexibility.

The funeral home professionals will do everything they can to ensure your loved one’s arrangements exceed your family’s expectations, regardless of whether you choose cremation or burial. However, cremation does tend to offer greater flexibility. With cremation, it’s possible to hold the visitation and funeral service prior to cremation, with interment to follow. Direct cremation is at the other end of the spectrum. It involves cremating the body first, and holding funeral services later.

Greenwood Memorial Park & Mortuary provides respectful and thoughtful funeral services in San Diego, which include traditional burials and cremation ceremonies. If you’re pre-planning your own funeral or making funeral arrangements for a loved one, we invite you to speak with one of our compassionate funeral directors about your choices. Call (619) 701-6473 for more information.

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