I’ve attached a great article from the Canadian newspaper, Edmonton Journal, which shows the growing acceptance of shrouds with no coffin burials, even among traditionalists.
It says the Anglican church in Alberta is recognising the environmental concerns of its congregation, something that is catching on everywhere.
My cover photo, which appears without a caption on some devices, is of a shroud and trundle from the ‘Gathered Here’ website.
Many people would like to be buried in a wicker coffin. But a funeral director I spoke with recently pointed out that these can’t be carried on the shoulders by family, which many people still want to do, because they are soft and can break open.
The solution can be to reinforce the wicker casket with strong supporting material at the base. But then for some people, that’s getting away from the original purpose, which is to be buried in something in which all the contents break down very easily. Maybe someone who markets or works with wicker caskets can share more on this.
If you look at the shroud in the Edmonton Journal’s photo, you’ll notice it’s made of very heavy material, not a fine cloth like muslin. This has the practical advantage of being strong enough to carry – and also to shield the body shape and outline from sight.
Restrictions in many places exclude burial or cremation in light cloth. There’s often formal language used to explain the reasons, but as much as anything, this is to protect the psychological health of the workers who are expected to dispose of bodies, by not having too much of them revealed.
I’m guessing the strong straps you see at the side of the material in the photo make it strong enough to carry. That allows for that powerful gesture, mentioned before, family carrying the deceased from the place of worship, to still happen.
And just to mention something else: Burial, rather than cremation, is the ‘green’ choice because it does not require the intense energy to get extremely high temperatures that cremation does. It also allows for body materials, and their richness, to be returned to the soil.
There’s plenty of information available on shroud burials. Gathered Here, is a website showing comparisons between services and costs in Australia. It can be found at: https://www.gatheredhere.com.au/burial-and-cremation-shrouds-australia
See also, The Hand Woven Casket at: http://www.handwovencaskets.com.au
On instagram some great accounts to follow include Kiwi based shroud artisan Ake Ake Shrouds @shroud_maker, also @wovenfarewellcoffins in the UK and while you are there don’t forget to follow us @goodgrief_oz.
For the Edmonton Journal news article go to,