Keeping the ashes of the dead in urns is now becoming a popular alternative to traditional funeral practices. The coarse and grayish ashes are the remains of the deceased, which are ground up bones with the consistency of fine gravel. Many families also abide by the wishes of the departed for their ashes to be scattered in a specific location, while others endeavor to have the ashes incorporated into objects, if such is the beloved’s final wish.
From the ancients to modern man
Cremation is not a new practice. In fact, for centuries, the practice is the dominant rite in some countries in Europe and Asia. While certain cultures are inherently open to this practice of dealing with the remains of the dead, many societies consider it to be taboo. The rising interest in alternatives to earth burial is opening up discussions about cremation. Nowadays, it has already become an acceptable funerary option in many settings. When a person states the wish to be cremated upon his or her death, the idea is met with less resistance than before. There are also more situations today where the survivors decide on cremation over burial when the deceased has not indicated any specific wish.
Ashes to ashes
When a dead body is burned at very high temperatures until only calcified bones is left, then the remains undergo a process called cremation. The bones are pulverized until they become ashes. People are choosing cremation for different reasons. Some abide by the practice due to the spiritual or religious philosophy they follow. These days, religious barriers are gradually being weakened by progressive ideas. Some do not abide by the traditional concept of returning their body to the earth via entombment. They favor cremation because they are more comfortable with the idea of being sanitized by the flames instead of the body undergoing decay, which takes a long time.
Meanwhile, there are people who choose cremation because it is more practical given current circumstances. For instance, cremation is preferable to a person who has no roots, or lives away from close family members or relatives. Others opt for cremation because it costs lower than traditional funeral and burial ceremonies. Usually, before a person is cremated, the immediate family chooses to offer funerary services to say goodbye to the deceased and gain acceptance of the loss. The ceremonies included in the rites are similar to conventional casket and burial services.
Regulations and restrictions on the process of cremation differ from one country to another. A licensed crematorium is subject to strict compliance of existing policies, and so the family would benefit from availing the services of people who have the skill, experience, and equipment to perform cremation properly and ethically. For example, removal of foreign substances from the remains is important; especially materials that tend to explode in high-temperature environments.
When a scattering request is made by the deceased as stated in an agreement or prepared arrangement, the surviving friends or family members need to plan for the emptying of the contents of the urn. Careful consideration in planning the ceremony is important, especially if the deceased left behind specific instructions.