Cremation and burial are both methods of disposing a dead body. With each method comes its own set of benefits and rituals that those who practice them feel strongly about following. The main difference between cremation and burial is how they affect the environment, as well as their effects on the living relatives of the deceased person. Cremation is often seen as an expensive option to most people due to most funeral homes requiring payment up front whereas most families can opt for a cheaper burial by choosing to preplan with a funeral home or carry out the ceremony themselves. Family members burying a loved one will also have more freedom regarding what type of casket they want, whereas with cremation it’s either a simple container or a small, simple casket. This can be due to the fact that crematoriums usually do not allow any type of fancy caskets because they might melt during the process and cause damage to other donated bodies (which is also an issue with burial and requires good planning and preparation). Some people see burying as a more natural way to go and cremate as against nature, but these ideas are based on ancient beliefs which have been shaped by ancient civilizations built around agricultural societies. Since farming became less common amongst people today, so did those values go away. Now it’s possible for most families to afford cremation without sacrificing too many of their own resources to provide a simple yet respectful sendoff their loved ones.
While both cremation and burial have been around as long as the human race has, new trends in these types of funerals are becoming popular. For instance, some religions such as Hinduism and Zoroastrianism require their members to expose the bodies of their dead loved ones to vultures – a process called “jhator.” This rite is sometimes seen as barbaric by outsiders for exposing a body to nature, but it is an important part of those cultures’ history and makes them feel closer to their non-corporeal loved ones. In contrast, new trends in cremation include the construction of what’s known as a “green” or environmentally friendly crematorium. Green crematoriums aim to reduce pollution and carbon dioxide emissions by using alternative fuels to incinerate bodies. These include things like natural gas, propane, and even the water supply of the crematorium itself (which is recycled). Some funeral homes are also beginning to offer what’s known as alkaline hydrolysis; which uses heat, pressure, water and chemicals to reduce a body to liquid. This process can take anywhere from three to eight hours depending on the size of the body, whereas cremation takes around two hours or less at 1800 degrees Fahrenheit (or 1000 degrees Celsius), but it is much more expensive due to its novelty in modern society.
Burial rites vary greatly between cultures living far apart from one another in terms of location and time period. Many burial rituals involve wrapping or adorning corpses in some kind of fabric for spiritual purposes. For instance, some cultures wrap their dead loved ones in animal skins to make them “become one” with the nature around them before they are buried or cremated. Others might be wrapped up in cloth because it represents the body being wrapped up by the loving arms of a mother. In other cases, burial can represent something completely different like making sure that no one gets hurt again after death by burying the corpse facing downwards so that he would not reach for anything after walking into the afterlife. Other cultures practice these rites because it’s considered disrespectful if a loved one is cremated and thrown away; instead it is believed that putting a loved one underground ensures that they stay close to you and also gives them peace.
Additionally, in cultures where nature plays an important role in the lives of people, burial rites usually involve replanting trees over graves. This is because these communities tend to place a heavy emphasis on nature and its balance with humanity. Even though this process has been shown to have little effect on the environment or greenhouse gases due to decomposition, it still adds an element of natural beauty to smaller cemeteries since they are less likely to be able worrying about deforestation. Or conversely, some communities will burn down graves so that they can plant new saplings where their loved ones “used” to be buried.