The Importance Of Rituals In Grieving And The Power Of Planting A Tree

Throughout history and across different cultures, there is a wide variety of rituals connected with death and funerals. And, whatever our cultural upbringing may be, there is a basic shared understanding of what a funeral entails: coming together to mourn the deceased at the time of the committal of their body – and to offer support and sympathy to the bereaved.

And although the country or community you are part of may have standardized rituals in grieving, it is actually something so special and unique to each family. So remember that it’s ok to be different and celebrate a ritual that feels right to you. What’s more, it may even help soothe a small part of the terrible grief.

Rituals give purpose to action and always serve to connect us to something else, generally something greater than our own solitary selves…


The power of planting a tree as part of the ritual

Studies have shown that after an individual experiences death, rituals such as gardening and caring for plants has an extremely beneficial effect on the psyche. We believe that combining this ritual of care, along with death can have a healthy impact on how we choose to deal with loss and grief.

The tribute of planting a tree is a beautiful and eco-friendly manner of perpetuating and memorializing a loved one’s soul for future generations. Each tree is both a symbolic and physical representation of a shared history and life. As the roots take hold in the ground and flourish, these trees facilitate in establishing and continuing a long lasting legacy.

The Bios Urn® is not only more eco-friendly, but it is a more therapeutic burial alternative too. We often say that it is so much more than an urn — it’s a catalyst for life. The tradition of planting a tree in memory of a loved one is a timeless custom that feels right for more and more families.

Bios Urn tree Blog: The importance of rituals in grieving and the power of planting a tree with the cremated remains

Image source: Bios Urn

Meaningful ritual ideas with a Bios Urn®

Carrying out rituals is a way of collectively remembering and honoring a loved one. Here are a few examples of rituals in grieving and symbolic acts you may like doing:

  • A coming together of loved-ones in the chosen burial place for the urn
  • Dressing in bright vibrant colors or white
  • Lighting and extinguishing a candle at the beginning and end of an online ceremony
  • Adding other small biodegradable items in the lower capsule of the Bios Urn® such as photographs or letters
  • Holding hands during the moment of plantation
  • Listening to their favorite music
  • Singing their favorite song
  • Reading their favorite poem or special stories
  • Each person can take it in turns placing fresh soil to cover the Bios Urn®
  • Watering the seed or seedling together in their memory
  • Sprinkling petals on the ground around the urn

Committal rituals in grieving can help the bereaved to say goodbye. As well as being a way of saying farewell, they can help mourners to feel connected to the person who has died, and express love, closeness or admiration. So remember that it’s ok to do something out of the ordinary, non traditional, to celebrate and to honor your loved-one’s life in the way that feels right for you.

Bios Urn tree Blog: The importance of rituals in grieving and the power of planting a tree with the cremated remains

Image source: Bios Urn

Rituals in grieving during the coronavirus lockdown

During the coronavirus lockdown, however, restrictions on travel and social distancing mean that for many mourners, there is no opportunity to come together to offer sympathy or to be there at the committal and this is causing immeasurable heartbreak on top of the grief from the bereavement. The lack of a traditional final farewell – whatever form that may take – makes it harder for grieving friends and family to feel a sense of closure.

What you can do during these unusual times is to arrange for the cremation to take place with immediate family present. People who are living in the same house who are isolating together can all be involved.

You can take the Bios Urn® to the crematorium for them to place the ashes inside the urn or you may prefer to arrange for the urn to be sent directly to the crematorium if you are not able to go in person. Thanks to its special lock mechanism, it ensures the ashes remain locked into the bottom of the urn, and is easy for transporting. The tree urn can also be filled directly by a family member. You can choose the quantity of the remains to add as long as they are under 2.5 liters (which corresponds to the remains of a person).

Another idea shared by many families is to divide up a loved one’s ashes and provide a portion to each family member or close friend. With the cremated remains, each person can plant their own tree memorial in honor of the loved one who passed. Family and friends can video and take pictures of the planting and share with each other in a Facebook group or other social media platform. This can create a special and memorable event for everybody involved, while also practicing safe social distancing.

And finally, you can decide to hold a service later. You can do the planting right away on your own or with immediate family, then gather extended family and friends for a service at a later date once it is determined to be safe to do so. You can hold the memorial service outside by the tree, reflect on the loved one who passed, and share photos or video of the planting. Many families find this to be a great solution as the tree memorial is already planted and they can focus on the celebration of life and being with family and friends.

While many families prefer to plant the Bios Urn® tree right away, others choose to delay the planting and wait until they can have more family and friends present. If your choice is to wait, you can still order the Bios Urn® now. It can securely hold your loved one’s ashes until the planting and has no expiration – it can be stored for months or even years and the tree urn only begins to break down once it’s planted and exposed to soil and moisture. So you can keep the Bios Urn® with you until restrictions are lifted and you are able to celebrate the ritual of your choosing with all of the person’s loved-ones present.

Bios Urn tree Blog: The importance of rituals in grieving and the power of planting a tree with the cremated remains

Image source: Bios Urn


What do you think of the importance of rituals in grieving? We would love to hear from you in the Comments section below.

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  1. Maude Merriman says

    If I live in the US is there a problem with my remains being buried in Canada? I’ve already told my daughter that one day when my time comes I wanted to be bio turned and planted. So let me know if the out of country burial is a problem.

    • Bios Urn says

      Dear Maude,

      Thank you for reaching out! As far as we are aware, there is not a problem with the remains being buried outside of the country. All you or your loved-ones would need to look into is how to transport the remains as every state will have different regulations around that.

      Traveling with the Bios Urn® is possible (unless the country of departure or arrival prohibit this explicitly). Thanks to its special lock mechanism, it ensures the ashes remain locked into the bottom of the urn, and is easy for transporting.

      And hopefully by then, there will be many Bios Parks in the States so that your daughter doesn´t have to travel that far.

      Thank you again and take care

  2. Peta Smedley says

    I am english born,but have lived 50 years in Belgium, I would like to know,if there are
    Sites in Belgium that are legalized in which to bury,or plant a tree.And also know the price of a bio urn.Thankyou for your help.

    • Bios Urn says

      Dear Petra,

      Thank you for reaching out to us and for your interest in the Bios Urn®, we are very grateful.

      Regarding Belgium, what we know is that it is not legal to plant in any forest or public land. They need to be planted in an autorized place. Here is a green burial site we know of in Belgium, they will be able to confirm if it is possible to plant a Bios Urn as each natural burial ground offers different kinds of services:
      Céroux-Mousty Arbre du Souvenir

      Also you could carry out an internet search with keywords such as “woodland burial”, “natural burial grounds”, “memorial gardens” or “green burial grounds” in your country or region, you should see if thereis anything close to you and they are sure to be able to provide further information also.

      If you do find any more places near you, please do let us know! We are always on the lookout for forward-thinking cemeteries and natural burial grounds around the world and to help more people in the future.

      We hope to publish a Blog article explaining about the different country laws in the main European countries regarding the plantation of a biodegradable urn. This may be of interest to you so either follow us on our Instagram or Facebook accounts (@biosurn) or sign up to our weekly newsletter here to find out when it has been published.

      Thank you and take care

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