One of the most confusing things about deciding where to store your loved ones’ ashes can be the terminology used when describing the vessel that the ashes are stored in. For example, as well as being a vessel for ashes, a casket can be a full sized vessel that the whole body can be laid to rest in, though in the UK this is more commonly called a coffin.
Another name commonly used for a vessel to keep cremation ashes in is an urn, though many people associate an urn as a vase shape, where a cremation ash casket is more associated with being a box shape.
That said, the words casket and urn can be used interchangeably to mean the same thing so it is useful to know if you are looking for a vessel to keep the ashes of a loved one in, rather than a body.
To summarise: a vessel to keep ashes can be called a casket or an urn; a vessel to lay a body to rest can be called a coffin or a casket (or even a chest).
If you are currently in a position where it has not been decided whether a loved one’s body will be buried or cremated, then here are some key benefits of cremation:
- Cremation is significantly less expensive than burial
- Ashes are much more portable than a burial. For example, ashes can be scattered in one or more locations, put in a casket / urn or a combination of both
- Cremations are more time flexible. Funerals can be rushed due to the perishability of a physical body whereas with a cremation a family has more time to plan a cermony
The main reason that burials are still carried out nowadays in the UK is due to relgious reasons such as those in Orthodox Judaism, Islam and Eastern Orthodox Christianity such as the Greek and Russian Orthodox churches. Most other religions permit, or even encourage cremation. In fact, here in the UK cremation currently accounts for over 78% of all funerals (source: https://www.cremation.org.uk/statistics).
Did you know: The adorned stone coffins used in the ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilisations were called sarcophaguses, or sarcophagi.