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 often a less expensive option in comparison to a burial, mainly due to less professional fees from the funeral home, a more basic casket choice, and reduced cemetery costs. At the funeral home, the deceased is placed in a container or casket that is combustible. The casket is then placed in cremation chamber at the crematorium where through intense heat is reduced to bone fragments that are then processed 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 memorialize: 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. If cremation is chosen in the Catholic funeral, the church advises that the cremated remains are to be buried in a cemetery. 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 Jewish faith also forbids 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.
Is a casket needed for Cremation?
No, a casket is not required. An alternative container constructed of wood or cardboard is necessary in Saskatchewan. The funeral home has a number of choices to suit any budget.
Is embalming required prior to cremation?
No embalming is not required. But you may choose to have embalming if there will be an extended time before viewing, or if there will be a traditional funeral followed by cremation.
Can the deceased be viewed without embalming?
Yes, often family members will choose to view the deceased at the funeral home prior to cremation, to say a final goodbye. In Saskatchewan, a visual identification is required by law prior to the funeral home booking the cremation with the crematorium. Sometimes this can be done at the time the deceased is transferred from the place of death, otherwise the visual identification will be done at the funeral home
Can the family witness the cremation?
Yes they can; family members may choose to be present when the body is placed in the cremation chamber. Some religious groups even include this as part of their funeral custom.
Can an urn be brought into church?
Nearly all Churches allow for the urn to be present during the memorial service. Most Catholic Churches also allow the remains to be present during the Memorial Mass. Orthodox Churches encourage families to have the deceased present at the funeral in a casket.
What can be done with the cremated remains?
While laws vary province by province, for the most part cremated remains can be buried in a cemetery lot or a cremation garden, interred in a columbarium, kept at home or scattered. Other options to consider are to separate a portion of the cremated remains as a keepsake, choosing keepsake jewelry, blown glass, and a number of other options your funeral director can discuss with you.
How can I be sure I receive the correct cremated remains?
All cremation providers in Saskatchewan follow a rigorous sets of operating policies and procedures set out in the Saskatchewan Funeral and Cremation Act in order to maximize the level of service and minimize the potential for human error. A numbered stainless steel identification disc follows the deceased through the entire process and is returned with the cremated remains.
How long does the actual cremation take?
Timing depends on the weight of the individual, and a number of other factors including the cremation container provided. 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 colour. The remains of an average sized adult usually weighs between 7 and 8 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, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary container.