Over the last few decades, cremation has become the most popular method of dealing with the remains of the body after death. In 1960, just 34.7% of the British populace were cremated after death, with the majority still being buried in a traditional churchyard plot.
However, 2016 statistics from Cremation Society of Great Britain show that today, 76.5% of people are cremated – that’s 459,693 cremations out of 600,598 deaths across the country. While there are many different factors which have contributed to the increasing popularity of the practice, the advent of direct cremation is certainly one of them.
What is a direct cremation?
A direct cremation is an increasingly popular alternative to the traditional funeral service – in that there isn’t one. Instead of a religious or secular service in which family and friends congregate, a minister of celebrant says a few words and songs or poems are recited, the body is simply cremated without ceremony and the ashes returned to the bereaved in a vessel of their choosing.
Direct cremations represent the most economical method of disposing of the remains of the deceased, since by their nature they eliminate many of the costs associated with a funeral. There is often no need to contract the services of a funeral director or funeral home, while the lack of a service means the bereaved can save on venue hire, ministerial fees, embalming procedures or an expensive coffin.
Why are direct cremations so popular?
Undoubtedly, the reduced costs of a direct cremation are one of the key reasons why the practice has become so widespread in the UK, but they are not the only factor. Additionally, people are choosing direct cremation because:
They are not religious and don’t see the need to conduct an elaborate ceremony in a church or graveyard
They have friends and family far and wide and do not wish to force them into expensive and time-consuming travel plans to come to a service
They see the funeral as more of a chance for celebration of life than mourning of death, and so prefer a more personalised event at a later date for a fraction of the price
They wish to have their ashes scattered at a place which is far more significant to them than any ceremony could be
Whatever the reason behind the choice of a direct cremation, its economy and lack of an official service at the time of cremation does not have to mean that the farewell is any less heartfelt or meaningful. In fact, an intimate reception or wake can be held in the comfort of the bereaved own’s home on the same day or at a later date, thus affording the deceased a more personal send-off than a traditional funeral.
Planning for a direct cremation
If you are interested in learning more about direct, why not visit our dedicated direct cremation page where you can view direct cremation specialists in your area. Alternatively, you can find and compare many traditional funeral directors near you using our search tool as most funeral directors are able to provide a direct cremation too. We encourage you to explore the funeral options available and find the right funeral director for your needs.