Types Of Burials

In total there are nine different types of burial processes. They include Direct, Natural, Crypt, Mushroom, Sky, Mausoleum, In-Ground, and Cremation. When you are the person that is in charge of honoring the deceased, you will need to follow their wishes. They usually say what they wish in their will. Make sure that you are doing what the person that has died would have wanted when it comes to burial. 

Cremation: The person is cremated in this type of burial and the ashes are given to the survivors. Many people put the ashes into an urn so that they can keep their loved ones close to them in their homes. Other people throw the dead person’s ashes out to sea or off of a mountaintop. It all depends on what the dead person wanted and usually, it is specified in their will. It’s important to respect how a person wants their ashes disposed of. Learn more about the cremation process in this post.

In-Ground Burial: In-ground burial is when a person is placed in a coffin and put into the ground, usually at a cemetery. They put a grave marker and headstone where the person is buried so that people can go there to pray and remember the person. It helps the people that are left to get through the mourning process in a better way. Find out more in our article on graves.

Above The Ground Burial In A Mausoleum: Above the ground burial in a mausoleum is when a person has their own small section among other people in a building where they will rest eternally. People can visit and pray in the building. This is a nice way for people to ease themselves through the grieving process. It can make quite a difference when they can pray and remember the dead person. Find more information about mausoleums in our Mausoleum Pricing and Options article.

Above Ground Burial In Private Mausoleum: An above-the-ground burial in a private mausoleum is also an expensive way to bury someone. That is why it is not very common. If someone is being buried in this manner, a person will usually have some type of memories to display at their home or elsewhere. They will also have the privacy in the mausoleum to have memories of the person around them.

Sky Burial: A sky burial is when a dead person is placed on a mountaintop. The corpse is out in the open and is subject to weather conditions and animals. It is common in the Chinese provinces, Mongolia, and Tibet. There are other countries that practice burial in this manner also.

Mushroom Burial Suit: A mushroom burial suit is cotton clothing. There are mushroom spores that are sewn into the fabric. The dead person is put into the suit and is buried directly in the ground. They do not need a coffin. Once in the ground, the person’s body decomposes with the help of the mushroom spores. People can still put a grave marker and headstone where the dead person is buried.  

Crypt Burial: Crypt burial is when a person is buried in a stone-chambered vault. They are found a lot in cemeteries. People find ways to remember their loved ones when they are buried this way. There is nowhere to put a grave marker or headstone, so they use other means.

Natural Burial: This is a burial that allows the person to return to the soil in the most natural way possible. This burial does not practice embalming fluids, cremation, coffins, or caskets. The person is put directly into the ground so that it can decompose naturally. We explore this practice more in our What is a Green Funeral post.

Direct Burial: A person is buried in a container. There is not a viewing, so the person is not embalmed. There may be a short service later on. This type of burial is usually less than a traditional burial. This is something that people do when they don’t have the money for a coffin or casket that can be expensive. They still mourn the dead person.

Which States Allow Natural Burial?

There are only certain states that allow this type of burial. Since a funeral director has to prepare the body for burial in this manner, these are the states that allow natural burial:

  • Louisiana
  • Nebraska
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Connecticut
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Illinois
  • Indiana

Decorating A Grave

When you have to bury someone, you may want to decorate their grave. You can do this but you need to follow the rules of the place where the person is buried at. For ways to decorate, you can consider placing flowers, wreaths, flags, wind chimes, grave blankets, and small items on the grave in memory of the person. Consider this for a time so that you can get something that the dead person would like. For more ideas on how to decorate a grave, check out this post.

You want it to be nice for other people to come and pray and remember them too. Always consider that the items may be stolen so make sure that they are not expensive. You will always want to keep the grave looking nice at all times so that people can come and go as they please when they want to pay their respects to the dead person. 

These are the various types of burial. When a person dies, they usually say how they would like to be buried in their will. It’s very important that a will that a person has made before they died to be followed when they pass away. If you or other loved ones are not sure how the person wanted to be buried, you can usually assume that it would be the way that their religion follows burial rules. Make sure that you always honor the dead person in some way that is really meaningful and well thought out, whether it is with a grave marker and headstone or not. 

For information on burial at sea, check out this post.


Readinform is a Wisconsin based writer for funerals explained. They have come to understand the struggles of death and loss. Through life experience they have gathered the knowledge to help others and answer questions related to the funeral industry. When not writing readyinform focuses on learning new things and exploring the differences society offers.

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