Cremation in North America has been on the rise over the past couple of decades, and the numbers continue to grow across the country to match or exceed the number of burials. In fact, cremation is expected to overtake traditional burial in a number of states over the next few years. What accounts for this seemingly sudden revival of an ancient practice? Here are five major reasons for choosing cremation, outlined by the Cremation Association of North America (CANA).
1. Wider Acceptance – Though it has remained popular in Eastern countries, cremation was once taboo in the West. Nowadays, more people from various religious backgrounds accept the practice. While some faiths still prefer burial, others have become more tolerant. Some churches even offer columbaria where cremation urns are interred.
2. Increased Relocations – In our increasingly globalized world, more people are moving away from their hometowns and/or relocating frequently. This means that there are fewer ties to a specific place and less of an incentive to choose the finality of burial in one location. In contrast, cremation makes it easy for family members who are spread out to memorialize their loved one in their own ways and at their convenience.
3. Green Alternatives – Environmentalism is now mainstream and more people than ever are concerned about their ecological footprint. Cremation is considered to be a greener alternative to burial, which often uses chemicals for embalming and uses precious resources like land, wood, metal, and stone. Scattering ashes, having a burial at sea, or choosing a biodegradable urn make cremation the favored choice.
4. Greater Convenience – A funeral and burial typically happen very quickly, giving families only a short time to prepare for and grieve their loved one before the casket is lowered into the ground. Meanwhile, cremation allows family members and friends who are spread out to hold a memorial at their convenience. Also, cremation offers a number of options for a final resting place: scattering gardens, urns, burials at sea, cremation keepsakes, and jewelry allow families to remember their loved one in a variety of unique ways.
5. Lower Costs – While not the biggest factor, price is an important consideration for many families that choose cremation. A traditional burial costs several thousand dollars. Cremation, on the other hand, is typically just a fraction of that price. The simplicity of the cremation process and its low costs make it an ideal option for individuals who want to save money and pass it on to their heirs.
As the cremation rates across North America rise, the practice is becoming as popular as it was in ancient times. But with modern technologies and attitudes driving the trend, more people are able to choose the service that truly fits their needs and lifestyles.