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What Are the Differences Between a Burial, a Memorial, and a Cremation?

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    With the word "memorial service" becoming more popular these days, we are frequently asked what the difference is between a funeral and a memorial ceremony. Both a funeral and a memorial service have the same purpose: they are rituals in which we bid farewell to a loved one who has passed away. Both can be as lengthy or as short as needed, and they both focus on paying honour to and celebrating the life of the person who has passed away.

    A funeral ceremony is usually held with the departed's body present, whereas a memorial service is held without the departed's body present. A funeral service can refer to a typical graveside burial service, or it can refer to a funeral service held in a chapel and followed by cremation. In most cases, a funeral ceremony is held within a week following the death.

    A memorial ceremony is usually held following the death and disposition of the deceased. It is usually a service dedicated to honouring the deceased's life. If the deceased has been cremated, a memorial service is usually held at the same time as the celebration of the deceased's life to inter or scatter the cremated ashes. Following a private funeral service, a memorial service can be arranged. A family may choose to host a private family funeral ceremony and then hold a memorial service at a later date for those who were unable to attend the funeral. When someone with special ties to a community passes away, a memorial service is often held as a ritual to help others pay their final respects. To assist you in planning a funeral for a loved one, look through our vast list of Melbourne Funeral Services. Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funeral Directors are here to help make the funeral process as smooth and stress-free as possible for you and your loved ones.

    Five Differences Between Burial and Cremation

    Aside from cost, there are also significant differences between cremation and burial that families should consider before finalising their plans.

    Flexibility of Options

    A traditional funeral includes a burial and usually follows a set of rules that the bereaved must adhere to. When it comes to changing the timetable of activities or adding to the funeral ceremony, most funeral directors are not very accommodating. Funerals can take place in a variety of settings, including a funeral home, a place of church, or a cemetery, but they all follow a similar pattern.

    Of course, there are benefits to such a structured event. For one, the funeral home handles most of the planning, meaning the family doesn't have to spend time and energy organizing an event while they are grieving a new loss. This streamlined process may help the family cut back on costs associated with customization while still allowing things like flowers, readings, and eulogies to be chosen to personalize the event. Funerals are traditional and sacrosanct, and few people regret them.

    In contrast, cremation services are far more flexible. Some families include aspects of a traditional funeral such as a viewing before the cremation, while others prefer a straightforward, direct cremation and plan their own fully customized memorial services later on.

    Timing of Services

    Burials take place quickly; even waiting two or three weeks to inter a casket is pushing the envelope of proper funeral protocol. Some cultural and religious traditions demand that the departed be interred in their final resting place within a day of death, while most others anticipate a respectful burial to take place within a week. Because the funeral must take place before the deceased is laid to rest, loving ones have very little time to organise and prepare for their final farewells.

    Services, on the other hand, can take place before or after the cremation, making it far more suitable for loved ones with hectic schedules. Because family and friends are frequently separated by distance, many people are compelled to forego traditional funerals owing to job and travel constraints. Cremation services with a flexible schedule make it easier for loved ones to attend and offer their respects.

    Disposition Options

    A traditional funeral always comes to a single conclusion: interment. The deceased may be entombed in an above-ground crypt or interred (buried) in the earth. This process is sometimes witnessed by mourners as part of a cemetery service.

    Family members can pick from a variety of disposition alternatives with cremation. Unlike burials, cremation allows family members to keep the deceased's remains permanently or until a final resting site is found. Many people are unaware that cremains (cremated remains) can be interred at a cemetery in a variety of ways. When ashes are buried with a marker, it gives loved ones a special place to come to commemorate the deceased. A columbarium, similar to a mauseoleum but with smaller chambers called niches to safely house urns, is another alternative. Urn gardens can be found in some cemeteries, where cremains might be buried or incorporated into the landscape.

    Finally, scattering is a popular technique. The deceased may prefer that their ashes be scattered in a meaningful area (or several), or surviving family members may choose a site if no instructions were given. Many mourning people find closure by scattering their loved one's ashes around the world.

    Methods of Memorialization

    The types of memorials that can be used to mark graves are becoming more restricted in cemeteries. Giant, ornate gravestones and monuments, which can be seen in some of the world's oldest and most prominent cemeteries, are no longer allowed. The type (e.g. upright headstones, flat grave markers, grave ledgers), size, colour, and material of gravestones are all governed by the rules and regulations of each cemetery. Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funerals offers a full range of funeral services to help make this difficult time a little bit easier for you and your family. 

    Similar laws may apply to cremated remains in cemeteries, however there are often more possibilities for memorialising a loved one's cremains. Cremation urns come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and patterns, and can be personalised to reflect the deceased's personality. A memorial bench in a favourite spot is a popular request, and surviving family members can even commision cremains-infused jewellery to carry their loved ones with them wherever they go.

    Impact on the Grieving Process

    During times of grief, bereaved people might visit their deceased loved ones' graves in cemeteries. Many individuals find it quite soothing to have a permanent site to pay their respects. Cremated loved ones, on the other hand, can be grieved and remembered wherever their cremains are buried, even if there is no marker or memorial. Loved ones may grieve wherever they feel the deceased's spirit is strongest, regardless of whether they were buried or burned.

    Characteristics of a Coffin

    Coffins appear rectangular at first glance, but they stretch outwards where a person's shoulders would rest, forming an irregular hexagon or octagon shape. The top and bottom edges, where the feet and head rest, are tapered as well, with the top edge being wider than the bottom. This design is referred to as "anthropoid," which indicates it is shaped like a natural human body. They usually feature a flat cover that may be completely pulled off for funeral viewings. Coffins, like caskets, are lined on the inside with cloth, but unlike caskets, they have handles on the side rather than rails for pallbearers to carry.

    Differences Between a Coffin and a Casket

    Aside from the difference in shape, lids, and railings, caskets and coffins differ in terms of pricing and materials.

    • Caskets are typically fashioned of higher-quality wood or materials, with more expensive features. Caskets made of plastic, medium-density fibreboard (MDF), various types of wood, copper, stainless steel, bronze, or fibreglass come in a variety of quality and price ranges.
    • Coffins are most commonly made of MDF, but they can also be made of iron, fibreglass, or steel. We provide religious and traditional funeral services at Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funerals. religious and traditional funeral services.

    Caskets are More Popular

    Caskets are by far the most popular option in the United States, and they are significantly more accessible than coffins. They are available from funeral homes as well as major merchants such as Walmart and Costco. Coffins, on the other hand, are rarely available for purchase from funeral houses. They can be ordered online, and funeral establishments are required by law to accept any coffin or casket, regardless of where it was acquired. You can also build a coffin yourself or hire a carpenter to do it for you. However, before you buy or create a coffin, check with your chosen cemetery to see whether they will allow you to bury a coffin rather than a casket. Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funerals provides professional burial services in Melbourne. We understand that the death of a loved one is a difficult time, and our team is here to help you through every step of the process.

    Casket and Coffin Prices

    A casket typically costs between $2,000 and $5,000. For $10,000 to $30,000, you can buy caskets with more ornate decorations and higher-end materials like mahogany wood and bronze or copper embellishments. Steel and wood caskets are the most affordable options, costing between $600 and $800. Coffins are less expensive to manufacture than caskets since their shape necessitates the use of less wood. However, because they're difficult to come by, you may need to place a one-time special order, which might significantly increase the price. Wooden coffins can cost anywhere from $600 to $3,000, and since you'll most likely have to order one online, you'll have to figure in delivery costs as well. For an average-size plain coffin, you should expect to pay around $300 in lumber and materials if you build it yourself.

    Non-Traditional Coffins and Caskets

    "Natural burial" or "green burial" adherents wish to be buried in a manner that is less harmful to the environment. Although not every cemetery will accept this sort of burial, due to municipal or state regulations prohibiting it, more and more are becoming open to the idea. You can be buried in a "casket" or "coffin" made of non-traditional materials such as cardboard, paper, huge leaves and branches, wicker, fabric, or other items in this style of burial. The idea behind this sort of casket or coffin is that it, like your bodily remains, would gradually decay organically into the earth.

    Elements of a Funeral


    A visitation is a gathering that occurs prior to a funeral. It's a chance for the deceased's family, friends, and acquaintances to get together. It also allows mourners to convey their condolences to the deceased's relatives. The viewing is usually held the day before or shortly before the funeral. Do you require assistance in arranging a funeral service? In Melbourne, take a look at Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funerals.

    Visitations are usually held at the funeral home or church, although they can also be hosted at the family home or another suitable location. A viewing of the body may or may not be held in conjunction with the visiting.


    Music has always played an important role in commemorating life events. The same may be said for funeral music. Music is one of the parts of a funeral that helps us accept our loss, cope with our feelings of sadness, and begin the process of grieving. Funeral music also contributes to the overall tone of the occasion. Traditional hymns and spiritual music, for example, are ideal for a religious ceremony. Upbeat selections may work if the tone is joyful. Music can also be used to make the service more personalised. The loved ones' recollections will be triggered by the deceased's favourite song. When it comes to music, you have a lot of alternatives. Anything that is within the parameters of good taste is acceptable.


    Funeral readings, like music, provide us the opportunity to express our grief over the loss of a loved one. There are two or three readings at most funerals and memorial events, although there are no established guidelines. There are few restrictions on the kind of readings that can be done. Poetry and song lyrics are frequently found with biblical verses. The key is that you're paying tribute to someone you've lost and expressing how you feel about it. Regardless of the genre, any nice and relevant passage can be used.

    The Eulogy

    A eulogy is a speech delivered by a friend, associate, or family member to commemorate the life of the departed. A funeral celebrant or a clergy person officiating the service may also deliver the eulogy. A well-prepared and delivered eulogy will bring back memories of the deceased person while also providing comfort and joy to those in attendance. There is no limit to how many eulogies you can give. It's not uncommon to observe services with three or more people. If you do decide to have many eulogies, keep them brief. Grieving the loss of a loved one? Peter Tziotzis Orthodox Funerals offers cremation services for those who wish to have their loved ones remains disposed in a respectful and dignified manner. 


    The relevance of symbols in helping us articulate our feelings is frequently mentioned by psychologists and grief experts. Funerals and memorial rituals frequently include both religious and secular elements. Depending on your cultural and spiritual beliefs, different symbols will be utilised during the event. Flowers, candles, angels, and crosses are some of the symbols that elicit emotions in persons who are grieving.


    The funeral or memorial ceremony is the ideal method to pay tribute to your loved one by allowing those who knew him or her to share recollections. In fact, adding memories into the ceremony is a great way to make it more personal. In addition to the eulogy, you may request that those close to the dead share a special recollection or talk about your loved one. You can also show images or a video tribute. You can include recollections into the ceremony in a variety of ways. Whatever works best for your family and is consistent with your spiritual and cultural views will suffice.

    FAQs About Funerals

    Traditional burial follows a lengthy and natural decomposition process, whereas cremation turns the body to burned remains in a matter of hours. Because direct cremations do not require embalming, they are less expensive than direct burials.

    Jehovah's Witnesses

    Members of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, also known as Jehovah's Witnesses, believe in spiritual rather than bodily resurrection, which sets them apart from many other Christians. They do not believe that if they are resurrected, they will have a body.

    Cremation was prohibited by the Roman Catholic Church for most of its existence. It was regarded as a sacrilegious conduct towards Christians and God, as it not only blasphemed but also physically declared disbelief in the bodily resurrection.

    Cremation is not mentioned in the Bible. In the end, everything comes down to the deceased's personal intentions or, if no wishes were given, the feelings and preferences of those making final arrangements. There is nothing in the Bible that says you can't cremate and scatter your ashes.

    In Islam, the dead must be buried within 24 hours of death. This was emphasised in news stories following Osama bin Laden's death. Bin Laden's burial at sea also sparked debate.

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