What is cremation? Cremation has been applied in many countries around the globe for thousands of years. In the US, the percentage of people who apply the process of cremation has been rising each year, with average rate of above 50%. However, in certain locations the cremation rate averages more than 80%.
People choose cremation for a variety of reasons, including to save money, to save land, and to save trees and other materials that are used in burial. Additionally, people choose cremation because it is an easier and more convenient solution and during their time of grief families want a simple solution.
So what is cremation? “Cremation is the use of high-temperature burning, vaporization, and oxidation to reduce dead animal or human bodies, to basic chemical compounds, such as gases and mineral fragments retaining the appearance of dry bone.” (source: Wikipedia) A deceased body can be cremated by reducing it to ashes and bone fragments with the use of evaporation and intense heat of approximately 1,400-2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
The body is put in a casket or other container, without medical devices or pacemakers, since they may explode due to extreme high temperature. Other materials in the body will then be destroyed in the process or removed afterwards. The casket or the container is then put into a cremation chamber to be processed through intense heat and flame. It will take about 2 to 4 hours to totally consume the organic matter, and the remains will usually weigh about 3 to 9 pounds. Bone fragments are then pulverized to reach a gravel texture until it reaches a light grey and white color. After the remains are reduced into fine particles and ashes they will be let cool for several hours. The ashes will then be placed into a cremation container and given to the family of the deceased.
Nowadays, cremation costs around $1,200 complete with permits and death certificate. There are certain companies that will do a direct cremation for under $800. If the family would like a visitation and/or funeral service, then the cost will be $3,000 to $5,000. This cost can increase significantly if the family decides to bury the urn or place in it a columbarium. To save money, many families choose to scatter the ashes in a favorite location or keep the ashes at home in the urn.
So what is cremation? Cremation is a good alternative for a traditional form of burial. Cremation allows for a more convenient and less expensive handling of the remains. The family then has a number of options with what to do with the remains so that they can pay tribute to the life of their loved one.
Updated: May 21, 2013