Cremation Versus Burial: Which is Best?

A Brief History of Cremation

Cremation has been around probably since the birth of mankind. Scientists know for sure it dates back at least 20,000 from the discovery of a partially-cremated cadaver in Australia. Ancient Viking Lords were cremated at sea along with the ships they commanded. Joan of Arc? She was burned at the stake, a form of cremation and torture.

A Brief History of Burial

We’ve all heard of mummies, perhaps the most famous example of burials courtesy of the ancient Egyptians. Further, any time an embalmed or buried body from history is found it makes the news: a body in a bog in Northern Ireland; a Viking grave unearthed, a warrior with his sword; an ancient Chinese warlord from the third century AD. With the advent of Christianity, burial became the norm due to the belief of the resurrected body (which is the same reason the ancient Egyptians embalmed their dead) in the afterlife.

Cremation and Burial Today

Humans are fickle. Hence, the popularity of cremation and burial has waxed and waned over history for various reasons from practical to religious to economical. Cremation began partly due to the practical difficulty of digging graves in our colder world 20,000 years ago. Furthermore, our ancestors were devoid of organized religious beliefs to influence this decision. Add to this they were nomads and didn’t have a need to visit their loved ones’ bodies in the future so cremation led the way.

Religious beliefs are often the deciding factor for burial. For a time, cremation was outlawed in the Middle Ages because of Christ’s example and was even used as a punishment by the Catholics. Muslims believe in the resurrected body as well and thus do not condone cremation. On the contrary, Hinduism prescribes cremation for its believers.

Enter the economy and today. Cremation is vastly cheaper than burial in our modern times. The expense of caskets, embalming, burial plot, and burial home expenses from transportation of the body and use of the funeral home, costs of burial can add up quick. Outside of religion, the money factor is one of the deciding reasons. The rising popularity of cremation especially in the United States is proof of this. In 1980, less than 10 percent of the US population elected cremation. By 2030, cremation is expected to reach close to 70 percent as estimated by the Cremation Association of North America. That’s a major turn around!

Which is Right for You?

Here at Dolan Funeral Home, we are here for you. As a full-service, family-run funeral home serving the Chelmsford and surrounding area including southern New Hampshire, Dolan Funeral Home will lay out all your options for both cremation services and burial services, including the practical and legal requirements. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year to help you in this very difficult time to make the right decision.

As a full service funeral home, Dolan Funeral Home offers more than just the care of your loved one’s body. We also offer memorial services, celebrations of life, catering services, and visitations. We at Dolan Funeral Home understand your grief. Our mission is to relieve just a bit of the grief and burden you are feeling by taking care of the practical details so you can concentrate on the heart details. Contact us today!

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