Do urns have different purposes?

When memorializing a loved one, choosing the right cremation urn is a significant decision. The urn you select can reflect the departed’s personality and passions and provide a comforting and lasting tribute. An urn is more than just a vessel for the cremains, so exploring your options is vital. Let’s explore various purposes for cremation urns, from keeping ashes at home to scattering or interring them, while gaining insights into each scenario’s practical and aesthetic considerations.


Keeping Ashes at Home

For many families, keeping the ashes of a loved one at home provides a sense of closeness and comfort. This practice has gained popularity in recent years, as it allows families to keep their loved ones physically and emotionally close. When choosing an urn for this purpose, consider the following:

Practical Considerations:

  • Size: One of the primary practical considerations is the cremation urn’s size. You want to ensure it has enough space to hold all the ashes. Knowing the volume of ashes you will receive from the crematory will help you choose an appropriately sized urn.
  • Material: There are various urn materials for home use. Wooden urns often provide a warm and timeless aesthetic, while ceramic urns come in a wide range of designs and colors to suit individual tastes. Biodegradable urns are eco-friendly, allowing the ashes to return to the earth naturally.
  • Personalization: Many families find solace in personalizing the urn. Consider options for engraving or customization to make it uniquely meaningful. You can include the name of your loved one, meaningful dates, or a heartfelt message.
  • Location: Consider where you want to place the urn in your home. Some people display it on a mantel, while others create a dedicated shelf or a prominent spot within a room. The location should allow you and your family to reflect on your loved one’s life.

Aesthetic Considerations:

  • Design: The design of the urn should resonate with the personality and tastes of your loved one. Some urns feature classic and understated designs, while others may incorporate intricate patterns or motifs that reflect your loved one’s interests or passions. For instance, a floral-themed urn could be a fitting choice if your loved one is an avid gardener.
  • Color: Color can play a significant role in the aesthetics of the urn. You can choose a color that represents your loved one’s preferences or appeals to your sensibilities. Some prefer serene white urns that evoke a sense of peace, while others opt for warm wood tones or vibrant hues that match their home design.
  • Symbolism: Consider whether some symbols or motifs hold special meaning to your loved one. For instance, religious or cultural symbols can be incorporated into the urn’s design to provide a deeper layer of significance.


Scattering Ashes

Scattering ashes can be a beautiful way to release your loved one’s remains into nature or a place of significance. This practice allows for a unique and deeply meaningful farewell, especially if it is the final request of the deceased. Here’s what to consider:

Practical Considerations:

  • Biodegradable Urns: When scattering ashes, choosing an urn designed to dissolve naturally in water or soil is essential. These urns are eco-friendly and ensure a seamless integration with the environment.
  • Transportation: Consider how you will transport the urn to the chosen location. Some families use a scattering urn with a built-in scattering tube or funnel for ease of use.
  • Permits: Check local regulations and permits for ash scattering in public areas. While scattering ashes on private property typically doesn’t require permits, scattering in public places like parks or bodies of water often does. It’s crucial to follow local laws and guidelines.

Aesthetic Considerations:

  • Ceremony: Scattering ashes can be a profoundly moving experience. Plan a meaningful ceremony at the site to commemorate your loved one’s life. This can provide closure and a sense of connection with the departed.
  • Keepsakes: Consider whether you’d like to retain a portion of the ashes as keepsakes. Some families opt for smaller keepsake urns, stone crosses, or jewelry that contains a small amount of the ashes, allowing multiple family members to have a personal memento.
  • Nature-Inspired: Many families choose urns with nature-inspired designs, such as leaves, flowers, or animals, to harmonize with the natural surroundings of the scattering location. These urns can enhance the beauty and significance of the ceremony.


Interment in a Grave or Niche

For those who prefer a traditional burial, choosing an urn for interment in a gravesite or crematory niche in a columbarium involves some specific considerations:

Practical Considerations:

  • Facility Regulations: Familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of the cemetery or columbarium where the interment will take place. Different facilities may have specific requirements for urns used for burial or placement in a niche. 
  • Material: Since the urn will be placed in a burial plot, choose materials that can withstand outdoor conditions. Metal, stone, or marble urns are often preferred for their durability.
  • Sealing: Ensure that the urn is securely sealed to prevent moisture infiltration. This will help preserve the ashes and the integrity of the urn.

Aesthetic Considerations:

  • Monument: Coordinate the urn’s design with the overall design of the monument, headstone, or niche design that will mark the final resting place. The urn should complement the memorial and contribute to the overall sense of reverence.
  • Inscriptions: Consider including inscriptions or engravings on the urn that honor your loved one’s life. These inscriptions can be a source of comfort and remembrance for future generations.
  • Elegance: Choose an urn that exudes elegance and reverence. The urn should convey a sense of respect and dignity in keeping with the solemnity of the interment.

Selecting the right cremation urn can be a deeply personal and meaningful process. Whether you keep ashes at home, scatter them, or inter them in a columbarium, consider the practical and aesthetic aspects that best reflect your loved one’s life and legacy. These urns become vessels of memories, preserving the legacy of our departed loved ones. Thus, they play a crucial role in the grieving and healing process. Take your time to choose one that feels just right!