Cremation can be an alternative to the traditional funeral where the body is buried in a casket and vault. Cremation may be chosen for various reasons.and holds several options. Some families choose cremation but still honor the tradition of having a visitation and funeral with the body present allowing a final viewing for those who live at a distance and weren't able to be with the deceased at time of death. To allow for this and keep costs down funeral homes have rental caskets. The rental casket is actually a "double" casket where the inside inexpensive crematable casket holds the body and is placed inside a beautiful normal appearing casket. For those families that prefer to not have embalming and simply have the urn present they may still have a visitation the evening before displaying the urn, photos, etc.. followed up by the memorial service the next day. Some families may decide to have a visitation period and the memorial service all in the same day to accommodate their schedule.
Cremation is accomplished by placing the the deceased in a crematable casket or minimal leak-proof container which is referred to as an Alternative Container. They are then placed in a special furnace called a cremation chamber or a crematory where through intense heat are reduced to bone fragments that are then crushed and pulverized to resemble course sand. The cremated remains of an average adult body will weigh about 7-8 pounds. Cremation is not an alternative to a funeral, but rather an alternative method of disposition.
Cremated remains can be scattered or buried, or they may be kept with the family in a decorative urn. Many cemeteries allow the burial of an urn on an existing family members grave for an additional fee. This is a wonderful way to have a burial plot near the original family lots. Many clergy and grief counselors will share that having a permanent burial space for the urn allows for a place to gather on Memorial Day or other special times to honor the memory of your loved one.
Some religions welcome cremation while others forbid it. The Catholic Church had banned cremation up until 1963, and burial remains the preferred form of disposition today. In other Christian denominations cremation was historically discouraged but nowadays it is more widely accepted. In eastern religions such as Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism cremation is mandated, while in Islam it is strictly forbidden. Orthodox Jews also forbid cremation; other sects of Judaism support cremation, but burial remains the preferred option.
What is Cremation?
Cremation is the process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame.
Is a casket needed for Cremation?
No, a casket is not required, most states require a leakproof alternative container constructed of wood or cardboard, however, in some states no container is required.
Is embalming required prior to cremation?
No. In fact it is against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise.
Can the body be viewed without embalming?
Yes, most funeral homes allow immediate family members to briefly view the deceased prior to cremation. Obviously time is a factor and there may be situations where this is not possible.
Can an urn be brought into church?
Nearly all Protestant Churches allow for the urn to be present during the memorial service. Most Catholic Churches also allow the remains to be present during the Memorial Mass. It is encouraged that cremated remains be a part of a funeral as it provides a focal point for the service.
What can be done with the cremated remains?
While laws vary state by state, for the most part remains can be buried in a cemetery lot or a cremation garden, interred in a columbarium, kept at home or scattered.
How can I be sure I receive the correct remains?
All reputable cremation providers have developed rigorous sets of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize the level of service and minimize the potential for human error. Since it is illegal to perform more than one cremation at a time, and the vast majority of crematories can only cremate one body at a time, it is next to impossible to receive the incorrect remains.
How long does the actual cremation take?
It all depends on the weight of the individual. For an average sized adult, cremation can take two to three hours at a normal operating temperature of between 1,000 and 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
What do the cremated remains look like?
Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color. The remains of an average sized adult usually weighs between 7 and 8 pounds.
Are all the cremated remains returned?
With the exception of minute and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family.
Do I need an urn?
An urn is not required by law. However, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or if the remains are to be interred in a cemetery. If an urn is not purchased or provided by the family, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary plastic container.