A History of Burial and Green Solutions

When a loved one passes, the number of decisions to be made can sometimes be overwhelming. The how and why behind these decisions are all weighed and valued differently; informed by the loved one’s life story, family priorities, and cultural norms. When an answer or decision on how to honor the passing of a loved one is not clear, we can look to history for guidance. To those considering burial, the traditions and meaning behind this path dates back thousands of years.

A History of Burial and Green Solutions

A History in Brief

Looking back to ancient Egyptians, they may have been the first to use caskets when laying a loved one to rest. Made of wood and paper, it was a great honor reserved for the upper classes. They featured elaborate detailing and a collection of valuables that the departed might need in the afterlife. 

Thousands of miles away, the ancient Celts and Romans also used wood and stone caskets to honor those who had passed. History shows the desire and need for this expanded across Europe, and that by the 1700s, what we now recognize as a casket, was standardized. 

Over time, the engineering and construction of burial caskets has evolved. Materials and design often now account for environmental conditions and sustainability, bridging tradition with modern priorities. 

Returning to the Earth

Just like culture, politics, and design, priorities and preferences have evolved when making funeral and burial decisions. Natural and environmentally conscious options are becoming more popular, along with a growing interest in green burials or natural burial. This method often will often use a burial shroud or pine box in place of a casket, and may not always include a headstone. 

Green burial options may be of interest to those who feel a deep connection to nature or do not want to leave non-organic matters in the ground.

Natural Choices

To some family members, a completely green burial may be hard to understand. Without a traditional burial plot or headstone, how can those left behind visit their loved one? Wanting a tangible and physical reminder of a lost friend or family member is normal and healthy. 

At Hollywood Forever, our clients can opt to take part in the Ancestral Forest Project. This option offers a simple stone marker instead of traditional headstones. Having a tree planted or a mushroom patch grown are also options to choose from that allow for loved ones to visit and remember the life lived. This service is also certified by the Green Burial Council.

Make It Green

A green burial may be the best option for you or your loved one. Green burials not only have personal and emotional benefits, they can also help preserve habitats, reduce carbon emissions, protect industry workers, and honor a life lived close to nature. Our green services include burial, cremation, and tree planting. 

Thank you for taking the time to read our guide to the history of burials and green solutions, we hope you found it helpful. At Hollywood Forever, we want to help you make the best decisions for you and your family to celebrate the memory of a life lived. If you have any questions about any of our services please contact us.


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