Ritual takes many forms in death, and in life as well. Quite simply, in ritual, a symbolic meaning enriches a physical task, which in turn, enriches our life.
A wonderful example of this is the centuries old cleaning ritual at Higashi-Honganji temple in Japan. Here is a video from TodaysTHV. Cleaning a temple is an important and necessary task, just as the burial of the dead is. Incorporating a meaningful ritual into the task of cleaning changes drudgery into a life affirming, life enhancing and memorable experience. Similarly, 'disposing' of the bodies of our family and friends without ritual changes an important and meaningful recognition of the most important of milestones into an act of drudgery.
Is the dust in this Japanese Temple ushered off with more care than our dead?