Cremation is an alternative to the traditional burial process. Cremation is the preferred option for many people because of their religious beliefs, the aim to preserve the environment, or it was requested by their loved one who has passed.
Cremation starts by placing the remains in a cremation container or casket. If a casket is to be cremated, it needs to be combustible or made from wood. The cremation container is then placed in a specialized furnace, which is called a cremation chamber, retort or crematory, depending on its location. This device is specially designed to reduce the remains to bone fragments. The bone fragments are then crushed or pulverized to the texture of course sand. On average, an adult body will weigh about 7 to 8 pounds after cremation.
It is a common misconception that cremation is an alternative to a funeral. However, cremation is an alternative to traditional burials, and a funeral service can still happen with cremated remains. Along with having a funeral service, cremated remains can be buried, scattered or kept by the family in an urn. There are many options of the disposition of cremated remains today. There is an artificial coral reef that is made of concrete, which was made using cremated remains. Cremated remains can also be added to helium balloons and released or launched into space. You can also have diamonds and glass made from cremated remains.
Cremation is not accepted by all religions, but many religions now allow for funeral services of cremated remains. Cremation was banned by the Catholic Church until 1963, and many churches prefer a traditional burial today. There are some Christian denominations that may discourage cremation, but today cremation is widely accepted. There are some eastern religions like Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, and Hinduism where cremation is mandated. At the same time, there are religions in Islam and Orthodox Judaism that forbid cremation. Even though there are some sects of Judaism that support cremation, most times a traditional burial is preferred.
What is Cremation?
Cremation is the process that reduces the remains of a human or animal to bone fragments by using high heat and flames. Cremation is not a type of funeral service, nor is it the final disposition of the remains.
Do I need a casket to be cremated?
No, caskets are not required for cremation. A cremation container is recommended and there are a few options to pick from.
Is embalming required if cremation is going to take place?
Most times, embalming is not required before cremation. However, there are times when embalming could be required. If the body is going to be transported by air or sea before the cremation takes place, embalming may be required. Sometimes, embalming may be required before the cremation takes place for public health reasons, especially if the person had a deadly or highly contagious disease.
Can the body be viewed without embalming?
Yes. Many funeral homes allow and even recommend that family members take the time to view their loved one before cremation because this can help with the grieving process.
Can we be present at the cremation?
Many times, yes. It is always good to check with the funeral director to make sure that this is possible. There are some religions and cultures where helping place the remains in the retort are a huge part of their funeral customs.
Can the urn be brought to a church for the funeral/memorial service?
Just about all Protestant Churches allow urns to be present during the memorial service. Many Catholic Churches will also allow the urn to be present during a Memorial Mass. In the last decade, more churches have started to encourage that cremated remains be a part of the funeral service because it provides a focal point for all the services.
What can be done with cremated remains?
The law about what can and cannot be done with cremated remains depends on your location. Many areas allow cremated remains to be buried in a cemetery, interred in a columbarium, scattered or kept in a home.
How can I ensure that I have received my loved one’s remains?
All reputable cremation providers use rigorous sets of operation procedures and policies to maximize their level of service, which minimizes the risk of human errors. It is illegal to perform more than one cremation at a time; so many crematories will only cremate one body at a time. Even if there is more than one retort, there are labels that are used to make sure it is next to impossible to receive the incorrect remains.
How long does cremation take?
This depends greatly on the individual. The cremation of an average sized adult takes about two to three hours when it is done at normal operating temperatures of between 530 and 1100 Celsius, or 1000 to 2000 Fahrenheit.
Are all the remains returned?
Except for the microscopic particles that are left inside of the cremation chamber and the processing machine, which are impossible to completely remove, all the remains are returned to the family. Any medical devices are removed from the cremated remains and are recycled.
Do I need to have an urn?
No, urns are not required by law. However, your loved ones cremated remains will be returned to you in a temporary container. There is also the option to provide your own container to have the cremated remains placed in. Some cemeteries and churches may require that the cremated remains are in an urn, not just the temporary container.