The act of cremation is one that has been used throughout history. The process has been used, changed and adapted over many centuries and is still used today. Cremation is becoming the more chosen option in many countries due to the rising costs of burials and limited space. Cremation varies in popularity across different countries with some countries using the process more than others. But where did cremation come from? And why it is still so widely used?

What is cremation?

Cremation is an alternative process to burial when a loved one has passed away. Rather than having a burial plot that the deceased body is lowered into, the remains of the person are burned and the ashes provided to the family. The ashes can then be buried, scattered or kept in an urn or keepsake by the family.

Where did cremation come from?

It is hard to determine when cremation originally started and by whom, however it has been a right of passage in practice since the prehistoric times. There has been evidence found that bodies in China were cremated as early as 8000 BC.

Since this time, cremation has been used across various countries. Some countries adopted the practice more than others. During the Iron Age and Viking Era, cremations made up most of the funerals in Sweden. However when Christianity was introduced around 1050 AD, the practice started to dwindle. By the fifth century AD, cremation was mostly frowned upon throughout Europe with the spread of Christianity. With it only being used when there was extreme cases such as an epidemic.

In the late 1800s, modern cremation began with the invention of a practical cremation chamber by Professor Brunetti. Crematories began to reopen across Europe and the first was opened in America in 1876.

Today, more than 31 countries practice cremation as part of their funeral rituals. Some countries such as Ghana have a small percentage of deaths that result in cremation, where as other countries such as Switzerland have more than three quarters of their deaths resulting in cremation.

How has cremation changed?

Over the years, with the invention of new practices, cremation has changed. This is due to new processes, adaptions and religious requirements. Prior to the invention of the cremation chamber, public burning were a choice for many religions. Open air cremations are still widely used in India with the body being placed on top of wood-fueled pyres along the banks of the Ganges River.

Electric cremation chambers are now found across the world and are the most used process for cremation.

Why do people choose cremation or burial?

Many religions still oppose cremations as they believe that it will interfere with the resurrection process. They believe that a burial is the right way to finalise ones life.

Although religion does play a big part in the decision making process, there are other factors that also need to be considered.

A burial does cost a significant amount more than a cremation and this is one of the key factors when a family is making a decision for how to honour their loved one.

Cemeteries across the world are becoming more and more filled with this not only driving up the price of burial plots but also making it more difficult to come by one. These are other factors that influence a decision towards a cremation.

Why choose cremation?

Cremations are an alternative way to celebrate your loved one and still have them with you. You can still have a full funeral service, where your loved ones can all come together and honour them. With a wake still following the funeral. After the cremation, you will have the ashes which you can scatter at their favourite place, keep at home in a special urn or have them turned into a keepsake such as a piece of jewellery.

It is a cost effective and honourable way to remember your passed loved one.

Templeton family funerals know that the passing of a loved one is difficult on everyone involved. There is a whole in your heart which is difficult to fill and there is a lot of emotion to process.

We can assist with all your funeral and cremation requirements in Melbourne and surrounding areas to provide a stress free process.