Cremation in Different Cultures

A typical cremation in the United States is done in a crematorium. The body of the deceased is handed over to a crematorium, and a team of professionals prepare and cremate the body. All that remains of the body are ashes–called cremains–that are stored in a receptacle, commonly an urn. The family of the departed typically store the remains at home, bury them, or scatter them at a memorable location. This is the normal cremation process in America, but around the world, in various cultures, cremation is handled in different ways.

Cremation views vary by religion
Traditional Catholic views and conservative views of other Christian denominations maintain that a body should be buried, not cremated. However, Catholic doctrine and most Christian churches do not forbid cremation, they just tend to view it as minor alternative rather than a viable option. More Christians and Catholics are beginning to change their views though, they see cremation as no different than a traditional burial, and can still hold a memorial service for the departed.

Some religions in the world not only allow cremation, but require it! Traditional Hindu practice requires that the body of the deceased is to be cremated on a pyre on the banks of the Ganges River. The ashes are then spread into the river. Other religious doctrines, such as Islam, completely forbid cremation.

Cremation varies by region
More cultures are increasingly embracing cremation as a viable option of passing on the dead. As of 2010, many small countries in Europe and Asia have a cremation rate between 40% and 80% of total deaths that year. The United States cremation rate was at 40% of total deaths. As religions relax their stances on cremation more and people understand its benefits, cremation is increasing across the world. Cremations are more frequently being chosen because they are less-expensive than burials, more eco-friendly, and allow the remains to be transported with the family.

Remember, keep your loved one’s wishes and religious worldviews in mind when deciding whether or not to have them cremated. If their wishes or preference is unknown, then the decision should be made based on what will be best for the grieving, and for the memory of the loved one.

Heartland Cremation can help provide you with the guidance and planning you need for arranging the cremation of your loved one. Family-owned and operated, Heartland Cremation serves the Kansas City area, including the communities of Overland Park, Leawood, Prairie Village, Lenexa, and Olathe. Please contact us to discuss your cremation needs today.

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