Cremation or Burial?

When arranging for a funeral, this will be one of the very first questions asked, as there are different requirements for both.

Burial has always been the most traditional option, particularly for certain cultures or faiths. But cremation is becoming more popular today, for multiple reasons.

If you are unsure which option to choose, the following information would be helpful to you.

Things to consider about…


Burial is the option most people are familiar with, as it has been the traditional way to care for our deceased for thousands of years. For some religions and cultures, it is still the only way to go.

At some point, everybody would have driven past a cemetery, and seen all those tall monuments to people of yesteryear. Many people even enjoy the quietness of walking through such a place, and reminiscing on all those who have gone before.

Of course, other people would prefer to never set foot there. We’re all different as to how we react to such places. That’s just how it is. We all know that.

Whatever our feelings, the majority of people would still be able to say with clarity, where their relatives are buried. A burial site becomes known by all. It’s recorded and locatable. Family history buffs rely on this to research long gone relatives.

They can do this because burial sites are (mostly) permanent. This, of course, can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. In times past, our families tended to centre around specific towns or cities for generations. The “Family Plot” within the local cemetery became a tradition in itself.

“…the traditional way to care for our deceased for thousands of years.”

Today, of course, we have developed a much more transient lifestyle. We move to other cities, states and even other countries. Having to bury a loved one can mean leaving them behind.

For some this is okay, because their family member will remain in the place that was special to them. For others however, it is a heart wrenching moment to know that visiting the gravesite and showing their love and respect for that person, will only be an occasional if not impossible event for the future.

So what do you do, if you can’t bear to leave your loved one behind? Approximately 50% of today’s population have decided that burial is no longer an option. Instead, they have turned to cremation.

Beautiful sunset over forest and mountains

Burial or Cremation…

Quick Comparison


  • The most traditional option.

  • Often the easiest and more acceptable option.

  • Some faiths may only accept burial as part of their culture.

  • A permanently recorded and locatable location.


  • Ashes can be easily transported.

  • Ashes can be scattered in a favourite location.

  • Provides flexibility in the ‘how’ and ‘when’ of a funeral service.

  • Division of ashes may be requested.

Things to consider about…


Choosing cremation opens up a whole range of options to be considered. Ashes can be transported, combined, divided, scattered, buried, worn or just plain stored. Conservation of precious land space is another appeal.

Cremation can also provide flexibility in the ‘how’ and ‘when’ of a funeral service. Death by its very nature, is often sudden and unexpected. Pulling together family and friends from all over the country, and sometimes the world, can be quite stressful to do in a short amount of time. As a result, there is usually one or more important people who simply cannot make it.

While a traditional funeral service with a coffin present is what most families prefer, cremation can also give you the option of planning a Memorial service instead. This means it can be held at a time and location that provides family and friends a greater opportunity to be there.

For some, cremation is simply a practical approach to cover their requirements. Mum (or dad) passed away ‘here’ but always wanted to be buried ‘there’ is a common reason. It becomes cheaper and easier than attempting the alternative.

The same could be said for wanting to bury a loved one with another family member at the local cemetery, when a double grave is not possible nor desirable. Cremation becomes the neat solution.

A Memorable Location

For others, the appeal of having their ashes scattered in a favourite location is strong. They will always be there; at a treasured camping spot, a family property, the mountains they loved, or other sites with cherished links to their heart. It opens up a connection with that special place so that whenever we pass by, visit or think about that area, memories of our loved ones will always be the first thing that comes to mind.

The ocean too, has always held a sentimental appeal for countless others. The deep blue waters teeming with life underneath, the waves crashing over the beach and either the bluest of skies or the power of a storm overhead, all invoke strong reactions for many who are fortunate to live in this part of the world. So much so, that they want to become a part of it when they go.

Scattering at sea, or placing ashes in a biodegradable urn that is specially designed to float on water for a few minutes before slowly sinking beneath the surface and dissolving, makes for a memorable occasion that will always be imprinted on our hearts.

A beautiful sunset over the ocean

There are also those, who simply desire to keep their loved ones close to them, usually on proud display in a beautiful urn within their home. Perhaps there is a photo or two, or treasured mementos too. For them, they are perhaps not ready to say a final goodbye just yet, and that’s fine. We all deal with the loss of a loved one in different ways.

Division Of Ashes

Occasionally, division of ashes may be requested. Possibly to fulfill several different wishes from the deceased. It could also be that each family member may choose to have their own portion of ashes to do something with. Perhaps to place into a small urn, a piece of jewelry, or even to scatter, or place into a memorial. The choice is very personal.

However, some may not be comfortable with the idea of dividing the ashes. That’s perfectly understandable. In the end, it needs to become a family discussion on how to best meet the emotional needs of each of those involved, in terms of the cremains of their loved one.

A Permanent Memorial

What about creating a permanent memorial to your loved one? One of the downsides of cremation, is that there is often no defined location for a tangible reminder of the person who died. This affects both the current and future generations who want to pay their respects, but don’t know where to go. What should they do?

It is worthwhile to consider your options before making a final decision. Would the memorial be for the deceased person only? Or do other family members wish to reserve a space for themselves too, perhaps creating a ‘Family plot’? Do you prefer the niche wall, or a Memorial garden site? What if you have no ashes, but still wish to do something? Or want a plaque for a burial site. All is possible. We recommend making an appointment with our staff, to ask all your questions.

We know that for some cremation can be scary to think about, while others aren’t even fazed. We certainly encourage a frank discussion amongst friends and families about your preferences, ideally before they are required. The more information you gather now, the easier it is to make a confident decision later. For at the end of the day, whether to choose cremation or burial is still very much a personal choice.

Contact Cairns Crematorium Funeral Home & Memorial Gardens now – we are here to help.