One of the biggest decisions when thinking of one’s own passing is what you wish to be done with your remains – burial or cremation? Unless religious beliefs dictate otherwise, this is usually a very personal decision. This guide will look into information about cremation and why people choose it.
The History of Cremation and Its Rise in Popularity
Back in 1930, cremations made up for less than 5% of funerals. In the last few decades however, cremation has become more popular with three in four people choosing cremation over burial for their funeral.
It’s understandable that it wasn’t very popular back in 1930, seeing as cremation was only officially legalised by Parliament in Britain in 1902, having previously been banned due to religious beliefs of Christians.
Cultural and traditional changes take a long time to change. Key events that helped the transition of this change included the millions of lives lost in the first World War, and royal, political, and religious figures choosing to be cremated rather than buried.
The biggest key event was the Pope removing a ban on Catholic cremations in 1963, and by 1968 the number of cremations overtook the number of burials in the United Kingdom. It has never reverted back since.
Cremation Preferences Today
More recently, an online poll surveyed by YouGov in 2016 saw that 58% of adults prefer cremation over 17% who would opt for burial, with the remaining 25% unsure or wanting something else. The percentages for younger adults surveyed landed at 42% in favour of cremation and for the older age group, the over 65s, cremation preference rose to 71%.
According to the SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2022, in 2021, 57% of funerals were cremations, 25% were burials and 18% were direct cremations. Making 75% of funerals a cremation.
A direct cremation is the most affordable type of funeral, usually costing around £1,500, but search funeral directors near me to find out more information and quotes.
With a direct cremation there is no service and the cremation itself is unattended. Though it might sound uncaring to some, this leaves you to celebrate the life of your lost loved one in your own way with your own budget, without a particular service tied to it.
The burial or cremation can often be the hardest part to see for some, so a direct cremation isn’t as thoughtless as it sounds. You will then receive the ashes a little while later.
Direct cremations have become more popular, partly due to COVID-19 restrictions but perhaps also due to changing attitudes and each generation straying further from tradition – much like how cremation became popular in the first place.
Cremations in general tend to cost less than a burial, as buying and preparing a grave plot can cost upwards of £1,000 alone. Much like a direct cremation you can opt for an unattended burial but these cost around £3,000 with fees included.
The average cost of a funeral in the United Kingdom is currently around £4,000. With an additional £4,000 in professional fees and send-off costs. Prices vary due to different funeral directors, location (for example, London is the most expensive), and what funeral package and services you require.
Different levels of packages can add extra services like style of coffin or limousines to follow the hearse, amongst other tributes.
Ashes and Urns
In the same YouGov survey mentioned previously, 79% of those who wanted to be cremated wanted their ashes to be scattered, whilst 7% wanted them to be kept.
Funeral directors can offer a range of urns and caskets in different styles. A casket for ashes will look like a small wooden box, or you can opt for the popular vase-like urn. There are also urns in other styles such as ones shaped like teardrops.
A popular place to scatter ashes is over the sea, or other body of water. A perfect choice for this type of send off would be a water-soluble urn. Shaped like a ball and made from sand and sea salt, a water-soluble urn will dissolve within 10 minutes when cast into the sea. It’s memorable and it’s also environmentally friendly.
So Why Choose Cremation?
Whether you are buried or cremated is a deeply personal choice or belief. Cremation has become popular for many reasons, its flexibility, affordability, and being seen as an empowering way of returning the body to nature. But ultimately, it’s a choice.