For many decades, burial has been by far the most common form of disposition in the world for many nations and civilisations. Things, however, are starting to change as creation is on a rise and many people prefer it nowadays.
Cremation, as a form of disposition, probably began in the early Stone Age – around 3000 B.C. – most likely in Europe and the Near East, even though, there may be evidence that people cremated bodies in China as early as 8000 B.C.
Today, cremation is widely practised in many nations around the world, with rates ranging from less than 2 percent in Ghana to more than 99 percent in Japan.
Before a deceased person is cremated, a funeral director must first obtain authorisation to cremate the decedent from the deceased person’s family members(s). All jewellery and medical devices must be removed before the cremation.
The body is then placed in a cremation casket, usually made of wood or another material, which is suitable for burning during the cremation cycle.
Cremation of a body is carried out at a temperature ranging between 1200 to 1700 degrees Fahrenheit. The severe heat helps reduce the body to its basic elements, ashes and dried bone fragments.
It generally takes about 1 to 2 hours for a body to be completely reduced to ashes by cremation.
After the entire process is complete, a cool down period of 40 minutes is needed before the ashes can be given for further processing.
The remaining bone fragments are then placed in a cylindrical container, which processes them to ashes.
The ashes are placed in a plastic bag within a temporary cremation urn provided by either the family or the funeral company. The Urn is then returned to the family.
Cremation Around The World
In Hinduism, for example, cremation is a common practice. Hindus believe that when a body is cremated, the soul is returned to its proper place in the divine force. Cremation rituals in that part of the world usually last less than a day.
Cremation is widely spread In the Scandinavian countries, as the ancient pagan Scandinavians believed that it helped free the spirit from the body. These practices paralleled the Roman and Greek cremations.
The revival of interest in cremation in the United States and Europe began in the 19th century. Although before that cremation was not a taboo among Christians, it was not encouraged by them because of pagan associations and because of the fear that it might interfere with the promised revival of the body. This type of disposal during the Dark Ages was used only in case of emergencies, as the outbreak of the Black Death in the 17th century.
Cremation in the modern manner is quite different. However, many people prefer it instead of a burial, due to the advantages it brings – it is much cheaper, it is eco-friendly, it does not take cemetery space and there are many options for handling the ashes of a loved one.