With so many different end of life options available today and so many terms to understand, it’s not surprising that many people get confused. Two of the terms that seem to cause the most confusion are mausoleum and crypt. If you’re not sure what each one is and how they differ from each other, you will find all the answers you are looking for in this article.
The main difference between a crypt and a mausoleum
If you are looking for a short and succinct answer to the question, “What’s the difference between a crypt and a mausoleum?” here it is:
A crypt generally refers to an enclosure in an underground vault or an above-ground structure, in which a casket is stored. It may also refer to a storage area for multiple caskets that is located under a church. A mausoleum, on the other hand, is always an above-ground structure, which is designed to house the remains of one or more people. So, a mausoleum may contain one or more crypt spaces but a crypt never contains a mausoleum. Below, we take a closer look at each term and explore what they mean when used today by funeral directors and memorial park managers.
A mausoleum can be built indoors or outdoors and may be a private structure, designed to hold the remains of one family, or a public structure, designed to hold the remains of many different people. In the case of a public mausoleum, a separate space is provided for each person. A private mausoleum may contain spaces designed to hold single caskets but it may also contain spaces that hold two or more caskets, for married couples or other close family members. Modern mausoleums may also be designed to accommodate niches, in which urns with cremated remains are stored.
The term crypt, when used today, refers to the storage space for a casket that contains the earthly remains of a single person. Whether inside an underground vault or a mausoleum, crypt spaces may be stacked one on top of another or laid out side by side, with a separate marker for each one. A less common layout you may come across is end to end crypts in a vault or mausoleum.
If you would like more information on crypts and mausoleums, or any other end-of-life terminology that you find confusing, please don’t hesitate to contact us for personal assistance.