Cremation is an alternative to the burial process and it is chosen by many people because of religious beliefs, the desire to preserve the environment or it was requested by the person who died. Cremation is also a less expensive option in comparison to a burial. The remains are placed in a container that is combustible and placed in a special furnace called a cremation chamber or a crematory where through intense heat is reduced to bone fragments that are then crushed and pulverized to resemble course sand. The cremated remains of an average adult body will weigh about 7-8 pounds. Cremation is not an alternative to a funeral, but rather an alternative to burial or other forms of disposition.
Cremated remains can be scattered or buried, or they may be kept with the family in a decorative urn. There are many new and different ways to dispose of ashes today, cremated remains can be placed in an artificial coral reef in the ocean, they can be launched into space or sent up in helium balloons, or they can be spun into glass pieces of art or diamonds.
Some religions welcome cremation while others forbid it. The Catholic Church had banned cremation up until 1963, and burial remains the preferred form of disposition today. In other Christian denominations cremation was historically discouraged but nowadays it is more widely accepted. In eastern religions such as Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism cremation is mandated, while in Islam it is strictly forbidden. Orthodox Jews also forbid cremation; other sects of Judaism support cremation, but burial remains the preferred option.
What is Cremation?
Cremation is the process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame. Cremation is not the final disposition of the remains, nor is it a type of funeral service.
Is a casket needed for Cremation?
No, a traditional casket is not required, however, by Nova Scotia provincial legislation, a cremation container must be used to contain the remains when being received at the crematory.
Is embalming required prior to cremation?
No. It is not required.
Can the body be viewed without embalming?
Yes, a private immediate family viewing can certainly be arranged prior to the cremation taking place, please speak to the funeral director if this is a request.
Can the family witness the cremation?
The crematorium has to make this decision, due to privacy issues and professional conduct. If the crematorium is able to accommodate this wish, family members may be present when the body is placed in the cremation chamber. Some religious groups even include this as part of their funeral custom. However, once the body has been placed and the retort is started, the family are not able to remain on-site.
Can an urn be brought into church?
All churches allow for the urn to be present during the memorial service. It is encouraged that cremated remains be a part of a funeral as it provides a focal point for the service.
What can be done with the cremated remains?
For the most part remains can be buried in a cemetery lot, placed in a columbarium, kept at home or scattered. There is no specific legislation in Nova Scotia that addresses the issue of scattering ashes.
How can I be sure I receive the correct remains?
All reputable cremation providers have developed rigorous sets of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize the level of service and minimize the potential for human error. Since it is illegal to perform more than one cremation at a time, it is next to impossible to receive the incorrect remains.
How long does the actual cremation take?
It all depends on the weight of the individual. For an average sized adult, cremation can take two to three hours at a normal operating temperature of between 1,000 and 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
What do the cremated remains look like?
Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color. The remains of an average sized adult usually weighs between 7 and 10 pounds.
Are all the cremated remains returned?
With the exception of minute and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family.
Do I need an urn?
An urn is not required by law. However, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or if the remains are to be interred in a cemetery. If an urn is not purchased or provided by the family a ceremonial urn is also an option. If no urns is desirable, the cremated remains will be returned in a cardboard container, suitable for transport.