Graves are dead capital: Let’s opt for cremation

The Hindu Crematorium where families wait for the ashes of their loved ones.

What you need to know:

  • Burial provides time to slow down and connect as family.
  •  In many cultures, burial is seen as a necessary step for the deceased to enter the afterlife or to give back to the cycle of life.
  • Africa, and Kenya in particular, has invested far too much dead capital for cultural reasons

In Farvagny, a village in Switzerland with a population of 2,250, loved ones are either cremated or buried at a cemetery to sustainably manage their land resources. To move even an inch in this direction, we must understand the underlying cultural meaning of the dead.

Bodies are buried to prevent the odour of decay, give family members closure and prevent them from witnessing the decomposition of their loved ones. Burial provides time to slow down and connect as family.

There are religious and spiritual traditions that involve rituals. In many cultures, burial is seen as a necessary step for the deceased to enter the afterlife or to give back to the cycle of life.

Since cremation of the deceased’s remains do not affect their soul, according to Christianity and other mainstream religions, there are no doctrinal objections to it.

Cultural reasons

Africa, and Kenya in particular, has invested far too much dead capital for cultural reasons. It is time this wasteful practice stopped. Land is finite and should be used to serve the living, not the dead.

Let people make good use of it to grow food and build homes, not putting concrete and marble over graves. For remembrance, a medal, ring, portrait or plaque can be kept as a souvenir.

In these days of technological advancement, resomation, or water cremation, is the new alternative to flame cremation and burial.

The gentler, environmentally friendly option allows for a natural process using water instead of flames. Resomation is legalised in the UK as well as 20 American states.

Direct cremation is the least expensive disposition option as it avoids the most expensive purchases — casket, preparing the body, funeral service and extensive transportation. Besides, some funeral homes charge a lower basic services fee (non-declinable flat fee) for direct cremation.

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