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Traditional Funeral


Traditional funerals, as the name implies, consist of practicing the funeral rite as it has been done for generations.  The custom of honoring the deceased during a funeral ceremony at a church, chapel, or funeral home with the body present is customary.  The Service or Mass is followed by a committal service at a cemetery or crematory.  A traditional service also includes a period of calling hours or a wake, at a time chosen by the family, for a public or private gathering prior to the funeral.

A green traditional funeral does not interfere, or replace the practice of the funeral tradition described above.  The only difference are the specific steps in the funeral service.  Wakes and visiting hours may occur, but the body is not viewed by the public.  Family members may view the remains for identification, but the deceased is not chemically embalmed with formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals required by law for a viewing.  With the casket closed and made of biodegradable materials such as wood, seagrass or bamboo, visiting hours and a Mass or Church Service may be held.  Metal caskets are made of steel, copper or bronze and spray painted and obviously are not made of biodegradable materials.

When it comes to the committal service and burial at a cemetery, traditionally the casket is buried in a cement liner or cement vault.  The vault protects the casket from breaking down in the short term, but is mainly used by cemeteries to prevent the ground from shifting and collapsing over time.  If you have ever walked by a historic church cemetery, you probably noticed the ground consisted of mounds and low points compared with the flat, manicured grounds of a traditional cemetery.  

Olson & Parent Funeral Home has directed many funerals for families that have made the conscious decision to not have their loved one embalmed; and have selected a biodegradable casket.  The casket is made of biodegradable materials with no metal components or toxic glues or stains.  The only negative was that the body and casket had to be buried in a liner or vault per most cemetery policies.

However, it was a move in the right direction.  No toxic chemicals were used to preserve the remains for a viewing and caskets were made from earth friendly materials.  It was still not a true green burial because of the required use of a liner or vault.

Now that has changed!  There are well known cemeteries in Rhode Island and Massachusetts that allow for a natural, green burials.  These cemeteries offer a natural burial ground or have sections of their cemeteries, called hybrid cemeteries, that have green burial sections that do not require the use of liners or vaults.  Most significantly, they also embrace families that refrain from embalming chemicals and non biodegradable caskets.  These restrictions create a natural burial sight that has less impact on the environment.

In this section

Traditional Funeral

Chapel Service

Graveside Service

Burial Packages

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