It is becoming more common for people who have just lost their loved ones to prefer cremation over burial. There are a variety of reasons for this, both personal and practical. Cremation typically costs less than the traditional burial, and it gives a chance for the bereaved to have some reminder of their lost one with them. Of course, it might also give the mourners some relief to scatter the ashes in a sort of ceremony.
The ashes of the remains are often called cremains; they consist of bodily fragments that are pulverized to a powder consistency. In this state, the ashes now consist of mostly minerals and are considered to be usually harmless. They can be placed inside an urn, which bereaved family members can display in their homes or in a mausoleum if they have one.
There’s also the option of a columbarium, which is a place where the urns are stored. It’s like a cemetery, only with the urns containing the ashes instead of coffins.
However, scattering the ashes is preferred by quite a large percentage of families who cremate. Again, this could be due to a variety of reasons. Some might get closure from such an act, while others might feel like it’s the best way they can dispose of the remains. Giving the body back to the earth in mineral-rich form will appeal to many folks, whether it’s for themselves or a deceased loved one.
So how are the ashes actually scattered? There are many methods that people adopt when it comes to performing ash scattering services as a way to honor their departed loved ones. We’ll look at each one in turn and discuss how it goes. Looking at each method in some detail might help certain families or individuals decide how to conduct their ash scattering ceremonies in the best manner:
Scattering Ashes on the Ground
One of the usual means of scattering or disposing of ashes is through trenching. As the word suggests, a trench is a shallow hole dug in soil, where the ashes are poured inside. This serves as a sort of grave but takes up much less space than a body. The same can be done with the ashes in an urn.
Another type of ash-scattering method is through raking. Here, the ashes are scattered and into the loose soil and then raked over the ground. This type of ash-scattering service is performed in an ash-scattering garden after the memorial service has been performed. You may mount your own ash-scattering garden or ask a professional regarding this. Of course, you can’t just scatter ashes on any piece of ground. There are several legislations that you have to follow at a time like this, so it’s best to consult a professional in order to avoid any hassle.
Forming a ring on the ground is yet another way of respectfully disposing of the ashes of a loved one. A trenching or raking method can be applied there to form a ring. In fact, you can form almost any shape that you prefer, like a square, heart or a star. After forming a shape, hold the urn close to the ground and carefully deposit all of the ashes into the shape. Again, you can do this in a specialized cremation garden or get permission to choose a spot of your own.
Scattering Ashes into the Water
A more popular type of ash scattering service is water scattering, where scattering at sea is the most preferred option. This is also known as burial at sea.
A traditional memorial service may or may not take place before the ash scattering ceremony here. There are many ash scattering or sea burial companies that will help grieving individuals in planning a ceremony. Once you have the professionals behind you on this practice, the ceremony will be more likely to run smoothly and according to the deceased’s or the deceased’s family’s wishes.
Water scattering involves dispensing the ashes directly into the water or inside a biodegradable cremation urn that dissolves in the water. Other biodegradable items such as flowers and wreaths are also permitted to be thrown into the water.
When planning such a ceremony, always remember and understand that there are certain legal and environmental limits on ash-scattering. One should be aware of which places are off-limits and which places are permitted by law for performing an ash-scattering service.
Water scattering ceremonies might also have a place in certain religions. The Hindu religion, for instance, considers it the highest honor to have the next of kin scattering their deceased’s ashes in the river Ganges, which is considered holy for them.
After the water and the ground, people have now started another way of dispensing ashes. This is through aerial scattering, which is a task that an amateur shouldn’t do, even a family member.
A professional should be the only person to scatter the ashes from a private plane. This is because the scattering should only take place over some specific locations and at certain flying altitudes, depending on state laws.
Many states don’t allow ash scattering over specific places such as bodies of water or developed locations. Bereaved family members and/or friends may have to pay an extra fee to board the plane and witness the ash scattering ceremony of their loved ones.
Places for Disposing Ashes
Many national parks like the Grand Canyon allow the scattering of ashes as long as the mourning individuals secure permission from the chief park ranger. Ashes must be of very fine powder, though, otherwise they would leave large pieces that may alarm other visitors and tourists.
There are several other places where you can dispense the ashes of your loved one, including Holy Land ashes scattering (which takes place near the Sea of Galilee), and even fireworks ashes scattering. Yes, that involves putting the ashes in a firework and then sending it off in a joyous fiery spiral!
Releasing through Lanterns
One innovative way to release the ashes of your dear departed is to put them in a paper Chinese lantern. These present a beautiful scene as they float off into the sky, with a small flame burning to keep them afloat. Adding a few of your loved one’s ashes would make it seem like you’re giving them a truly lovely farewell.
Some people might believe that releasing the ashes in this manner is a symbolization of how light will lead the deceased to heaven. Some might also write their own messages and prayers on the lantern, or fasten them to the frame.
Circle of Life
Choosing a biodegradable urn can help the ashes of the deceased to nurture trees more easily. This method involved planting a tree with the ashes when you bury the urn. The remains will be used for nourishing and fertilizing the ground, allowing the tree to grow well.
This way of ‘scattering’ ashes might not have too much involvement, but it would serve as a permanent reminder of that person. Plus, it would be a good way for an environmentalist to give back to the earth one last time. Some might even put this method as their last wish in their will.
Getting Customized Urns
When you’ve cremated your deceased, the first step is usually to put the ashes in an urn. However, this era places a lot of emphasis on customization, so a common urn might not do for that special someone who’s no longer around. This is why American Custom Urns has bright us the Cremation Urn Ash Scattering Tube. Take a look at it here:
These tubes are a compact and unique option for using in ash scattering ceremonies or to distribute among close family members. You can choose to utilize them as small urns for giving as keepsakes or for making sure that everyone can take part in the scattering ceremony.
The material here is a durable and sturdy wood laminate, which is used for making stocks and gun grips. The amount they hold is just a pinch of ash, and the top is loose enough for easy scattering. This way, you can save a bit of the ash as well as make sure the scattering ceremony goes well.
Whatever type of scattering you plan for your departed loved one, the most important thing is that you give your beloved a befitting final farewell. The ceremony should be honoring and celebrating that person’s life, plus be a source of comfort to those who’re grieving.
Even after you cremate your loved one, there are many steps you can take to ensure some final means of closure. Ash scattering is usually the way to go, but choosing from one of the options above can make things a lot easier. In fact, choosing the right kind of ceremony could set you and your family at peace, so it’s recommended that you get a head start.