Arranging and Purchasing a Cremation
By Vaughn Balchunas
Cremation fell out of favor with the Christian
population in the early Middle Ages, but was later
recommended on grounds of health and sanitation during
the reign of Queen Victoria. A milestone was reached in
1963 when the Pope lifted the ban on cremation. In 1966,
Catholic priests were allowed to officiate at Cremation
ceremonies. Even today, religious practices like Islam,
Orthodox Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Parsees and Greek
Orthodox Christianity forbid the practice of cremation.
It has been the usual method of disposal of the dead
among Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Calvinists, Liberal
Jews, Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Mormons and
Methodists, to name a few.
Arranging a cremation:
You have to inform the funeral director and instruct him
that you will be following a cremation service. The
funeral director will be fully conversant with all the
formalities and will obtain the necessary forms, which
will also contain a letter of authorization from a near
relative stating the desire to cremate the deceased. The
funeral director will notify the crematorium of the date
and time. You will also have to inform the crematorium
how you wish to dispose of the cremation ashes.
Normally, cremation costs up to a third less than a
burial as there is no headstone or grave to be
purchased. The funeral director's charges are usually
the same for both services. A typical funeral can cost
$6,000 compared to $1200 for a cremation and service.
Caskets typically start at about $2,000 for an economy
model and quickly rise from there. Be sure and shop
around online. If you purchase a casket from the funeral
home you will most likely pay twice or more for the same
coffin online. Cremation urns vary dramatically in price
from a low of $100 to thousands of dollars. But a
typical purchase would be $100 to $500 online.
The service is the same as burial and it may take place
in one's own church or in a crematorium chapel. The form
of the service can be adapted to suit one's own desires
and the charges will depend on the services rendered and
the time needed. The body is brought in a coffin and the
coffin usually remains in view for mourners to pay their
respects. After the service, the coffin is withdrawn
into a room where it is labeled with all the relevant
information. This label stays with the coffin until the
final disposal of the remains. After the service, the
body is taken in the coffin to be cremated. Almost
without exception, the body is cremated along with the
coffin. Once the cremation is over, the ashes are
removed and cooled in a tray. This is then placed in an
urn and permitted to be strewn. The remains that are in
the urn are cindered to a fine white ash.
Christian churches have a separate section, usually
referred to as Gardens of Remembrances, which is set
aside for the disposal of cremated remains. Ashes are
strewn or buried here, but no area can be reserved by
any one person. Some crematoriums have secured niches
that hold the urns containing the ashes. These are
available on a rental basis. If the rent is not paid on
time, the ashes will be buried or strewn. Some families
also dispose of the ashes in a family grave or strew
them at a favorite spot. Sometimes, areas of religious
significance are picked up to hold the ashes. However it
is important to obtain permission before one can dispose
of the ashes in other places. If you so desire, you may
also keep the ashes with you.
The increase in the number of people choosing cremation
is also reflected in the sales of cremation urns.
Traditional urns are wood cremation urns and cast bronze
urns or spun metal urns. But, increasingly people are
opting for customized cremation urns that better reflect
the life of the person or pet they memorialize.
As with any memorial, people are beginning to place
sculpted cremation urns and other artistic funeral urns
at home, either in the garden or as art in the home.
If you wish, some crematoriums will allow you to
dedicate a garden item or a small plaque for a limited
period on payment. Some also accept donations in the
form of physical objects like stained glass, seats and
other items. Such items will hold a small inscription of
the deceased. Enquire with the funeral director
regarding memorial facilities available at your
crematorium. The staff at the crematorium will also be
happy to assist with any information you may need.
Memorial Urns offers a wide selection of funeral urns
including marble cremation urns and keepsakes for humans
and their pets. Find out more about memorializing your
loved one at http://www.memorial-urns.com