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How Does Cremation Work?

Published: September 23, 2022

     We make many choices when we are planning funeral or memorial services for ourselves or for a loved one. The first and perhaps most important is deciding between a traditional burial or cremation. Many factors drive the decision, including religious considerations. Overall, the use of cremation has increased in recent years.

     Survivors have been cremating bodies since prehistoric times. Experts credit the rise of Christianity with the decline in popularity of cremation. Still, the practice continued during epidemics, wars, and in Asia. Then religious formalities in parts of the East brought back the custom of burials.

     In the modern era, cremation began to regain popularity in Victorian England with the invention of a cremation chamber. Today people around the world choose cremation.

     In America, laws vary by state. About half of the fifty states license crematoria. Reputable funeral directors work carefully to ensure they adhere to regulatory guidelines - including returning the correct ashes to families in a timely fashion.  

     As with a loved one who will be buried, the deceased is transported to a funeral home. From that point there are options for personalized services. Three of the most common are:

          * Simple cremation with remains returned to the family.

          * Cremation with memorial service. Loved ones gather to mourn and remember.

          * Cremation after an open casket funeral.

     The funeral director will present the ashes to the family. They will still have decisions to make. First, what sort of container will hold the cremains? Options range from simple cardboard or plastic boxes through urns made of ceramics, metal or pottery, including fine, handcrafted works of art.

     Another big decision is where to inter, spread or store the ashes. Some prefer to keep the remains nearby, feeling closer to the deceased. Specialists can even incorporate ashes in jewelry. Cemeteries allow the interment of cremation urns in plots, perhaps next to other buried loved ones. Many cemeteries and other memorial sites have a columbarium, a special section designed for the permanent placement of funeral urns.

     Perhaps you plan to strew Dad’s remains in a favorite trout stream or your aunt’s on a beloved garden. Private property, with the permission of the owner, is one choice. Many avid travelers and sports enthusiasts want their ashes strewn on iconic sites like national parks and sports arenas. However, strict laws usually forbid such activity. Seeking official advice is essential.

Thanks for reading our blog. We hope you found it helpful and informative. If you would like to learn more about cremation or you have other questions, please reach out to Wheelan- Pressly Funeral Home and Crematory at 309-786-5421 anytime.