Why is there a longer period of time between death and burial than there used to be?


I work for a National Cemetery. I noticed that back in the 70s & 80s (my cemetery opened in 78 so I don’t have older data) people would die and be buried a day or two later. Nowadays, it seems like somebody gets buried anywhere between 5-12 days after they die. Why is this process longer than it used to be?

In: 3

I think embalming.

There’s no big rush to get the body into the ground.

Freezing might have a similar effect of allowing more time before burial/cremation.

Refrigeration costs have gone down and the embalming process mostly. Another reason is the work load and job stress that comes with being alive today. Idk where you work, but some places won’t give you a day off if your mother died. Others may feel they need to work more to help with the cost of burial. It may be that the funeral home is popular and you have a week or more turn around time cause they’re doing all they can to keep up. Some local laws may prevent embalming or funeral prep until the cause of death is determined.

It’s actually mostly a cultural change. After all, we have been embalming the deceased for over a century. Abraham Lincoln’s body took a weeks long train tour of the states before he was interred. The advent of refrigeration and the advancement in efficiency (making it cost effective) also helped lengthen the time between death and the beginning of decay. Which gave more time for the embalmer to work. However at this point it’s just a matter of society accepting we have time to plan and grieve before the deceased is burried.

There are still some cultures that require a burial in the first 24 hours after death like orthodox Judaism. Even still modern practice does allow for some time more for the family to arrive for the funeral, as long as the deceased is burried in as short a time as possible.