Burial or Cremation: What’s Right for You?

By: Vaughn Greene Funeral Services
Monday, September 3, 2018

Deciding whether you prefer a cremation or burial is one of life’s most personal choices. There are many influencing factors including cost, religious beliefs, cultural traditions, and family preferences. Considering these factors ahead of time can help you make an informed decision now, preventing your loved ones from experiencing unnecessary stress and confusion when you pass.

Are you favoring a traditional burial?

The most common method of body disposition in the U.S. is burial in a coffin or casket that's placed in the ground in a cemetery. The body is often embalmed, though it’s not required by law. Funeral expenses vary from state to state and can vary widely based on the services selected. In 2018, the average cost of a funeral in Maryland is $9,597, according to data from GoBank. Though funeral services are typically more expensive than cremation services, some families find them more personal because they’re able to choose a headstone, casket, gravesite, and the location of the service. For many, especially in the United States, the tradition of burying the deceased provides comfort after loss. In the African American culture, funerals have long been woven into the tapestry of tradition.

Could cremation be right for you?

Often seen as a more eco-friendly alternative to burial, cremation reduces human remains to ash, which can then be handled in a variety of ways. You may choose to scatter the ashes in a favorite place, bury them in a cemetery, keep them at home in an urn, or have them incorporated into a cremation memorial such as jewelry. While burial has long been the traditional option in the U.S., cremation has become much more popular in recent years and currently comprises nearly half of all final dispositions. The average cost of cremation is typically a fraction of the costs associated with a traditional funeral or burial because fewer services are involved in cremations. Cremation is flexible option, as well. If family members live around the country or around the world, direct cremation takes away the pressure to gather very quickly for a traditional viewing. While traditionally not favored by the African American community, an annual study by Wirthlin Worldwide shows that cremation continues to expand as an option for this group. One of the major reasons African Americans choose cremation less than other ethnicities is that the funeral is an extremely important cultural norm and there is a popular misconception that one cannot have a funeral and be cremated.

No matter which final arrangement you choose, it’s important to discuss the various options with those who will be responsible for carrying out your final wishes. According to The Conversation Project, ninety percent of people believe discussing these matters with their loved ones is important, yet only twenty-seven percent of people actually do it. For additional help choosing final arrangements for yourself or a loved one, please contact one of our compassionate funeral directors today.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 20 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved one. For more information, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.

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