It is true that globally, more people are cremated than those that are buried but cultural and religious preferences raise lots of questions about cremation. It is hard to predict what happens to us when we die but you can surely choose what happens to your body after you die. These days cremation is faster and generally cheaper than the traditional burial on interring underground. Burial rites can still be fully observed before a cremation just as they are during burial. Unlike some popular myths, loved ones are actually allowed to view the body before cremation and you can still perform the final rites just like you do before a burial. Here are 10 things you should know about cremation.
DNA Can Still Be Retrieved from Ashes
Many religions and cultures looked at cremation as a way of destroying the body which may destroy the dead person’s connection with their living loved ones. Some people also assume that the ashes eradicate the possibility of extracting the DNA of their loved ones in case it is necessary. Cremains can still be used as a reliable source of DNA samples too and can tell a lot about the deceased person including gender.
Cremation Is Over 17,000 Years Old
If you thought that creation was the new and trendy thing; you are very wrong. Cremation may actually be older than most types of burial performed around the world. The remains of the famous Mungo Lady extracted in Australia were found to be over 17,000 years old and it was half cremated with the bones crushed in what was believed to be a spiritual practice. Other evidence of cremation has been found all over the world dating as far back as 3,000 years ago making cremation a common practice in many communities around the world.
Cremation Isn’t Just About Burning
Burning dead bodies on a pyre is still practised in some places around the world but cremation is not all about watching your loved ones on fire. Most modern crematories are designed to convert a body to ashes without exposing it to flames. The chamber is heated using burning gas to 1500 to 1900 degrees before the body is put in. At that temperature, all the organic material is converted into gas while the rest becomes ash.
Mixing Of Ashes Is A Myth
There were some rumours that crematories can burn more than one body at a time leading to one’s remains mixing with others. That is not true because even in places where wood is used for cremation, only one body is burned on the pyre at a time. As for crematories, cremation chambers are designed to fit only one body at a time eliminating the possibility of remains mixing. It is actually illegal to put more than one body in a cremation chamber at a time.
Cremation Has Huge Environmental Implications
Most funerals homes sell cremation as the ultimate eco-friendly form if sending your loved one-off. Now, it is true that the chemicals used to embalm bodies, burying them in wooden caskets and burying them in concrete graves does hurt the environment. However, cremation is not any safer for the environment either. In crematoriums, you need fuel equal to two fuel full fuel tanks to cremate a single body. You also have to account for the CO2 and other gasses released during the cremation process. The same goes for cremation on open-air pyres in places like India which use up to 1,100 pounds of wood to cremate one body.
It Was Banned In Greece
The Greek Orthodox church was one of the many churches in the world that didn’t agree with the practice of cremation. In Greece, the church has a tight grip on the government, so cremation was prohibited in the country until 2016. Concern was raised about a nation that is part of the EU enforcing what was seen as oppressive legislation but it wasn’t changed until 2016 when Greece realized that it would soon run out of land for burial.
Some Churches Are Opposed To Cremation
In Islam, cremation is absolutely prohibited so you won’t find many of any crematoriums in places with a Muslim majority. Christianity isn’t spared of the fear of cremation. Many argue that there is no mention of ashes rising on the last day and therefore prefer that people be buried whole. The catholic church allows cremation but prefers that the remains be buried and not be kept in the house. Most Orthodox churches including Greek and Russian Orthodox, Baptists and Lutherans are opposed to it.
Cremation Can Be More Expensive Than Burial
Cremation gives lots of conveniences since there is a lot more you can do with your loved one’s remains apart from burying it. Most people believe that it is cheaper than burial because all you have to do is pay for the cost of the cremation chamber or pyre. However, in some places, the cost of rites surrounding cremation actually go very high. The real test comes when you decide to do something fancy such as compressing the ashes into a diamond. If you choose to bury the ashes, you still have to pay for a plot at the cemetery and the cost may be more or less the same.
Cremains Can Be Turned Into Shot Gun Shells
Nowadays, you can compress the ashes of your loved ones into anything you like. The most common ones advertised by crematoriums are being compressed into vinyl records or marine reefs so that they can be close to you for as long as possible. The most interesting item that shells can be compressed into is shotgun shells though. Now it is not clear who would want to use their loved ones remains to shoot at things but it is a very real practice.
You Can Still Hold A Funeral After Cremation
Now, many people assume that the definition of funeral changes when cremation is involved. It is still possible to hold a funeral for your loved one after a cremation though. Many places of worship can make arrangements to have your loved ones’ urns receive a regular funeral service and be buried afterwards.