How Does Cremation Work?

Cremation is becoming an increasingly common alternative to traditional burial. It is a simple and dignified process that utilizes heat and flame to reduce a decedent to an ash-like substance which can be then stored in an urn, scattered or buried.

The Basics

Cremation reduces a deceased’s body to ashes and bone fragments using heat and flame. The process is performed in special cremation equipment, including a furnace and a cremulator (a piece of equipment used to reduce bones to ash-like remains). Cremated remains are a white or grey in color and resemble the texture of sand. Remains are then transferred to a container or an urn and given to the family or arranged for burial. Some families opt to spread a loved one’s ashes at a place of special importance – it all depends on how people choose to memorialize their loved one. Depending on the size of the decedent, the cremation process typically takes two to three hours. In most cases, the family is allowed to be present when the body is placed in the cremation chamber. Naturally, this isn’t mandatory and left up to the next-of-kin’s preference.

Why Cremation?

Some people choose cremation services as an affordable alternative to traditional burial. Cremation also offers flexibility in planning a memorial service or ceremony as well as options for how a family chooses to memorialize their loved one. The ashes can be scattered in a meaningful location, kept in a cremation urn, buried or placed in a columbarium. Cremation is also considered an environmentally friendly method as it doesn’t require use of resources to build a casket nor use of a plot of land. In the past, some religions have discouraged cremation, but it has become an acceptable method among some denominations and in some cultures, a mainstay of the memorial process.

Look Up a Cremation Society

A cremation society in your area can guide you through the details of the cremation process and answer your questions. Unlike most funeral homes, which usually outsource the cremation process to another crematory, cremation societies can perform the cremation. Check to find the nearest society. While just the basics have been outlined here, prepare yourself so that you’re armed with all the facts. Whether you reach out to a cremation society or a funeral director, take the time to ask questions and educate yourself about your options.

Melody Jamali is the Founder and President of Une Belle Vie, a Colorado company dedicated to bringing choice of cremation to public light. Their company offers the widest selection in decorative urns for cremation. Also available are custom cremation urns through their extensive artist community. To learn more about cremation,  and what’s going on in their artist community, visit Celebrate a beautiful life!

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