This page, and the one on cremation, may be especially difficult for you, yet deciding between burial and cremation is one of the first choices you must make. It's your decision!
Disposition is the term used by the funeral industry to describe the final handling of the deceased's remains.
Although your initial decision for the disposition of the body is between burial and cremation, there are several variations on each.
Whichever choice you make, the body will eventually return to its natural elements.
If the body is buried...
- It can be interred (earth burial).
- It can be entombed in a crypt within a mausoleum (above-ground burial).
- It can be buried at sea.
Why people choose burial
Although the trend is moving toward cremation, the majority of North Americans still choose to bury their dead and to be buried themselves. Here are some reasons you might choose burial.
1. Burial is traditional within your family, religious group, or geographical area
- For instance, in the United States today, about 79 percent choose burial. In Canada, the rate is about 64 percent.
2. You do not like the idea of the body being "burned"
- You prefer to have the body slowly return to the elements.
3. You want to erect a monument on the grave
- Perhaps you want to visit the grave in the days to come, and you find a graveyard more appealing than say, a columbarium.
Decisions You Must Make If You Choose Burial
- Whether or not the body is to be embalmed
- Which kind of casket (or coffin) will house the body
- Whether to buy a casket, rent one, or build your own
- Whether or not the cemetery requires a vault or grave liner
- Which cemetery to use
- What kind of plot
- What to put on the gravestone