In Alberta, earth burial (interment) is traditionally the most commonly used method of final disposition. The burial must take place in a cemetery that is registered with the Alberta government.
Family and friends gather at the grave following the funeral service to have earth burial of a casket or an urn. A minister, family member, or friend may offer scripture, poems, or personal tributes. The length of service can be determined by how much or how little you wish to include.
If no monument or marker is present at the graveside the funeral staff will leave a temporary plastic marker with names and dates inscribed until a permanent solution can be installed.
Traditional Funeral Service
Although there are many different practices and customs associated with a traditional funeral service, the term “traditional” is understood to mean that the body of the deceased is present in a casket at the funeral service. Whether the casket is open for viewing or stays closed to the public is dependent on the wishes of the family. The traditional funeral service is followed by either an earth burial, entombment in a mausoleum, or by cremation.
A memorial service is a funeral service held when the body of the deceased is not present at the service. A memorial service is often held when the death and burial took place in another country or province, or a significant amount of time has passed between death and the time of the service. Some choose to have earth burial or cremation before the service. Most often in the case of cremation the ashes will be presented in an urn. A memorial table can be displayed at the church, chapel, or room where the gathering will take place. On this table one may place the urn, a picture, and personal items that speak of who the person was, what was important to them, and what they enjoyed doing, (i.e., a fishing rod, gardening tools, home-made crafts, or a collage of pictures).
A monumental cemetery is the traditional style of cemetery where headstones or other monuments made of marble or granite rise vertically above the ground. There are countless different types of designs for headstones, ranging from very simple, to large and complex.
A mausoleum is an external, free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of a deceased person or people. A mausoleum may be considered a type of tomb, or the tomb may be considered to be within the mausoleum.
Columbarium walls are generally reserved for cremated remains. While cremated remains can be kept at home by families, or scattered somewhere significant to the deceased, a columbarium provides friends and family a place to come to visit. Columbarium walls do not take up a lot of space and a cheaper alternative to a burial plot.
Natural cemeteries, also known as eco-cemeteries or green cemeteries, are a new style of cemetery set aside for natural burials. Natural burials are motivated by the desire to be environmentally conscious. While natural burials can be performed at any type of cemetery, they are usually done in a natural woodland area. Conventional markings, such as headstones, are generally replaced with a tree, bush, or the placement of a natural stone.
Why is having a place to visit so important?
To remember, and to be remembered. A permanent memorial in a cemetery provides a focal point for remembrance and memorializing the deceased. Memorialization of the dead is a key component in almost every culture. Psychologists say that remembrance practices serve an important emotional function for survivors by helping them bring closure, which allows the healing process to begin. The provision of a permanent resting place is an important part of this process.
What happens when a cemetery runs out of land?
When a cemetery runs out of land, it will continue to operate and serve the community. Most cemeteries have crematoriums, and some historic cemeteries even offer guided tours.
In a hundred years, will this cemetery still be there?
We think of cemetery lands as being in perpetuity. There are cemeteries throughout the world that have been in existence for hundreds of years.
Does a body have to be embalmed before it is buried?
No. Embalming is generally a choice, one which depends on factors like if there is to be an open casket viewing of the body, or if there will be an extended time between death and internment. Public health laws may require embalming if the body is going to be transported by air or rail.
What options are available besides ground burial?
Besides ground burial, some cemeteries offer interment in lawn crypts or entombment in mausoleums. In addition, most cemeteries provide options for those who have selected cremation. These often include placement of cremated remains in a niche of a columbarium or interment in an urn space.