Difference Between Interment and Funeral

When a human life comes to an end it is celebrated in some cultures and in some, it is mourned. It gives rise to a multitude of methods that expresses grief.


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Those methods take the form of ritual and it is called by various names. Interment and Funeral are two confusing words but are very different based on their meaning and processes involved.

Interment vs Funeral

The difference between Interment and funeral is that interment is the process of burying the dead whereas funeral is the entire ritualistic process involved and designed around burial. The set of rituals differs according to religion and region. Interment may involve burying some other things with the body which are supposed to help the dead in their afterlife.

Interment vs Funeral

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Interment involves placing a dead body into the ground. It is one for various purposes such as the preservation of the dead body.

Various methods such as mummification, natural burial, etc. bodies can be put into a coffin, shroud, etc. based on the ritual of the community.

A funeral is a ceremony that revolves around burial. Various practices are used by communities to respect their dead. Through various practices, people show various beliefs such as rebirth, reincarnation, etc.

Practices include prayers, dance, etc. which convey different messages. The Latin word funus is the origin of the word funeral which means corpse or funerary rites. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonIntermentFuneral
DefinitionIt is a process in which a dead body is buried.It is a ceremony that revolves around burial and cremation.
VariationIt is practiced by every community that practices burial as the final disposition method.It varies depending upon the community and its beliefs.
Type of wordIt is a noun used to indicate a process.It is an adjective.
ImportanceIt is the most important part and doesn’t change.It can change according to circumstance and culture.
PracticesIt is just the burial of a dead body into the ground.It involves prayer, dance, and it can involve burning of the dead body as well.

What is Interment?

Interment is the ritual of burying the dead into the ground using various ways. It is done to slow down the process of decomposition and to protect the body from wild animals.

This rite is as old as humanity and is done to respect the dead and celebrate life.

Various terms are used such as burial and inhumation for interment. It is done in various ways such as mummification, embalming, or natural burial which is aimed at either preserving the body or giving back to nature what we take.

To achieve intermet people usually dig a pit and either bury the body directly or some sort of covering is used. The covering could be a coffin or any burial vault, etc.

In some cultures, the process involves burying other things with the body which is supposed to help the dead in the afterlife. The most famous example is that of Egyptian Pharaoh Tut.

His burial place was a tomb and his body was covered by flowers. There was a golden chair and various golden items were laid. It was believed to help him in his afterlife.

Burial practices are different and the position of the body differs from culture to culture and it differs according to the status of the person as well. Every Egyptian mummy has a different position suggestive of their social status.

What is a Funeral?

A funeral is a ceremony that involves singing, dancing, chanting, etc. in connection with the disposition of a dead body.

The Customs of a funeral differ for different communities and for different religions. It is practiced to honor the dead and to celebrate their life.

It involves burning, burying a body along with some practices indicative of the beliefs of the people or culture involved.

Different religions like Hinduism involve the burning of the corpse. But in others, it can be buried or left on a height to let the body be used by nature.

This practice predates modern humans as evidence has been found by archeologists in different parts of the world. Floral pollen has been observed near skeletal neanderthal in a certain pattern that is suggestive of funerary practices.

It can also be observed among animals as it has been observed that certain animals are found behaving in a pattern.

It is not only common to humans as it can be observed in various animals that live in groups. Examples of such animal groups are elephants and lions.

It is generally characterized by emotional and cultural practices. Community gatherings, significant symbols, ritual action, cultural heritage can be observed during funerals.

Main Differences Between Interment and Funeral

  1. A funeral is a ceremony characterized by different rites and symbols whereas Interment is simply burying of a body into the earth.
  2. A funeral is common in animals and humans alike as it is associated with showing our emotions and beliefs whereas interment is only observed in humans.
  3. A funeral is a practice common in every religion whereas interment is only observed in certain religions and communities.
  4. A funeral may involve complete destruction of the body whereas interment involves burying of the body for preservation purposes.
  5. A funeral can be changed according to circumstances and time but interment cannot be changed as it requires burying of the dead body.
  1. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/cambridge-archaeological-journal/article/funerals-as-feasts-why-are-they-so-important/49EFDEBE97F46CE0D09AA23A0ABA3079
  2. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/mono/10.4324/9781003186106/funerals-matter-william-hoy
  3. https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/asag/gen/2004/00000028/00000002/art00002
  4. https://search.proquest.com/openview/9759410c90bf5a26/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=2924
  5. https://www.jstor.org/stable/660224
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