Cremation can replace the more traditional burial as the place of final destination. Although most families understand that a traditional funeral with a wake and religious service are necessary. A wood casket is used for the wake, mass or religious service and for the cremation.
If a family chooses a funeral without any service or a Direct Cremation then no casket is required, just a simple container, which is strong enough to hold the body. This could be a box of rough boards, pressboard, or heavy cardboard.
Some crematories accept metal caskets; most require the container to be combustible.
If the body is cremated ...
- The remains can be stored by the family - and perhaps kept on display - in an urn or other container.
- You may take the remains in the simple plastic box supplied by the crematory and distribute ("scatter") them over the land or water.
- The remains can be placed in a niche within a columbarium.
- The remains can be buried in the ground in a regular grave or in a smaller cremation grave.
- The remains can be entombed in a crypt within a mausoleum.
Why people choose cremation
In the United States, in 1972, only five percent chose cremation. That number had quintupled by 1999, with over 25% choosing cremation.
The Cremation Association of North America predicts that by 2010, that figure will rise to 36%.
In Canada, the rate is already over 42%; in Great Britain, 71%; and over 98% in Japan.Decisions You Must Make If You Choose Cremation
- Whether to use an urn or container
- What to do with the remains
If you are distributing the remains....
Some jurisdictions have laws prohibiting the scattering of remains; others require a permit. Ask your funeral director.
Also ask if there are any firms in your area that specialize in unique ways of distributing the remains, such as a plane to spread them over a mountain, or a ship to scatter them at sea.