Understanding Cremation

Cremation is an alternative to a burial and involves the body being prepared, placed in an appropriate casket and processed in a cremation chamber using intense heat. The person's ashes can then be returned to a family member to be kept or scattered. When considering cremation for a loved one or for yourself as part of your prearranged funeral plan, you will likely have some questions. Here are a few questions you may have when arranging a cremation for the first time:

How Is The Body Prepared? 

The initial stages of preparing a body for cremation are the same as preparing a body for burial. The body is cleaned and dressed in clothes picked out by relatives. If there will be a public viewing before the cremation, the body will be embalmed. Jewellery and any medical devices that contain batteries will be removed to ensure no reaction occurs in the cremation chamber, but any metal joints or pins will remain in place.

Is A Casket Required?

There is no need to purchase a casket if you don't wish to do so. However, the body must go into the cremation chamber in an enclosed, combustible container. Your funeral provider can provide an inexpensive container, which is typically made of rigid cardboard. If there will be a viewing before the cremation, a casket will be required. Some funeral providers have viewing caskets that can be rented, which keeps costs down, or you can purchase a casket in the same way you would for a burial.

Do All Religions Permit Cremation?

Not all religions permit cremation, and it's important to take a person's religious views into consideration when making funeral arrangements. Most Christian denominations allow cremation, but it is not permitted if you are Muslim, Jewish or Greek Orthodox. However, there are religions that consider cremation to be the preferred choice, such as Hinduism and Buddhism.

What Can Be Done With The Ashes?

Soon after the cremation you'll be given a box containing the ashes. You can place them in a decorative urn or memorial box and keep them at home or you can bury them in a cemetery. Some cemeteries have a section specifically for urn plots, while others require you to use a regular burial plot. Alternatively, you can bury the ashes on private land or scatter them in a place that was special to the deceased, but you may require permission from the local council to scatter ashes in some public places, such as parks.

Organising a funeral can be a difficult task due to the emotional impact of losing a loved one, but your funeral director will do much of the planning and arranging on your behalf. They are there to answer your specific questions and put your mind at ease, as much as possible, so utilise their experience and support when making decisions relating to the various stages of having a relative cremated.