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What is Cremation?

Cremation is the process of burning a deceased body and reducing it to ash and sometimes bone fragments. The ash, also called “cremains” or “cremated remains,” can then be buried, interred in a columbarium, scattered, or kept by the family in an urn as a memento. To cremate a body, a cremation oven is heated up to an average temperature of 1400 to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit by pillars of flames in order to reduce the body to ash. Cremation can be an alternative body disposition method to the more historical form of body disposition in North America, the common burial.

Due to the sometimes prohibitive cost of a burial over cremation and the slow departure of American society from the traditions of our elders, cremation has as of recent been considered a more popular disposition method over burials. In 2016, just over half (50.2%) of Americans chose cremation, while 43.5% chose burial, according to a report from the National Funeral Directors Association.

Cremation Guidelines by Religion

It’s not uncommon for cremations to be accompanied by a funeral or memorial service, while many Americans may not know that. Keep in mind that it’s more common to see non-religious people being cremated, since not every religion accepts or condones cremations. Here are some religions that do not condone cremations or prefer burials instead:

  • Most sects of Christianity prefer burial. Cremation in the bible
  • Jewish tradition is to bury the body.
  • Cremation is forbidden in the Muslim faith.

Here are some religions that support, and at times prefer, cremations over other forms of disposition:

  • Traditionally, Hindus are cremated (with the exception of children and saints).
  • Cremation is generally preferred in Buddhism.

Why People Prefer Cremation

Besides the decision between siding with religious traditions or a more custom approach, there are often other reasons why someone would prefer cremation over burial. Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • More personal: Cremation allows you to choose a final resting place that isn't a cemetery, often making it more personal.
  • Cost: Cremation is usually a more affordable option than burial.
  • Environmentally friendly: Cremation is generally considered more environmentally friendly than burial.

Are you starting to plan a funeral? Try our free funeral planning tool on Ever Loved and use your preferences to get a customized funeral plan.

February 2018
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