Funeral Services vs. Cremation Services

Deciding between funeral services and cremation services has become a dilemma for many people in America and in other countries of the Western world. A few decades ago the answer would have been simple: funeral services. Until the second part of the 20th century, the Church upheld a negative view about cremation. More than that, it even banned it. Things have changed since then, though, and today more than forty percent of the people who die in America are cremated.

Learn more about funeral and cremation services and the differences between them to make an informed decision.


Funeral Services

The fact of the matter is that funeral services have never been inexpensive, whether they took place in ancient Roman times, in the Middle Ages, or in 21st century America. They require a casket – generally a hefty investment of at least $1,000-1,500 dollars – as well as a funeral service and a burial vault or some other burial place that adds a few thousand dollars more to the funeral. Various other costs are usually necessary, from renting a hearse to buying funeral accessories like garlands or candles. All expenses considered, the average funeral services easily reach $6,000 to $7,000 or more.

Funerals also tend to be elaborate ceremonies that involve many practicalities which the family of the deceased must take care of. These practicalities can add additional stress. Also, depending on where the burial takes place, the family of the deceased may have to pay for the maintenance of the burial ground, with time or with money.


Cremation Services

Cremation services are simple, convenient, and – the truth must be told – much cheaper than funerals. A direct cremation may cost just under $1,000. Memorial services and urns of ashes can add to the cost of course, but still cremations remain much more affordable than funerals, a fact which has made them increasingly popular during a time when many families are still experiencing economic difficulties.

But to say that many people prefer cremations to funerals only because they are cheaper would be a mistake. When comparing funeral and cremation services, many regard the latter as more intimate ceremonies that honor the memory of the deceased in a profound way. Besides, if the ashes are kept after the cremation, the family of the deceased can deposit them in an urn or in a special necklace or other piece of jewelry which they can keep close for the rest of their lives. The ashes do not have to be kept though – they can also be scattered over the ground in a place that had a special significance for the deceased.


Although cremation services are significantly cheaper than funeral ones, a fact which no doubt accounts for their rising popularity, it’s worth to remember that funeral and cremation services are both two alternatives to the same inescapable human condition, death. It’s ultimately a personal choice, one that reflects one’s own beliefs.

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