The human cremation process is an ancient practice. Over time, it has become an increasingly viable alternative for many families — whether because of the fulfillment of a loved one’s wishes, greater freedom to say goodbye to that person or even ecological issues.
In addition to reducing environmental impacts, cremation also proves to be a more economical option than in pits most of the time. However, despite the advantages that the practice offers, there is still a lot of prejudice, misinformation and even fear about the rite of cremating bodies, especially on the part of some religions.
Some civilizations since 1000 BC already used this practice as a funeral ritual, the Greeks and later also the Romans practiced the process of cremation on their dead. The meaning of cremation was already at that time an important gesture of offering a “dignified” destiny to the dead.
However, issues related to cremation, its origin and practical applications still generate some confusion.
Although we are used to the act of burying our dead, another ancient technique proves to be much more advantageous from the point of view of sustainability: cremation, that is, the reduction of the corpse to dust through burning. No wonder the practice has gained increasing popularity around the world.
How long does a cremation take?
The duration of the cremation itself depends on the bodyweight of the deceased but is usually around 90 minutes. The ashes of the deceased after the cremation weigh about 3 kilograms and are put into an ash capsule. This is then placed in an urn, which is later buried.
Whether tree burial, aerial burial or burial at sea – for all these forms of urn burial, the costs of cremation are added to the burial costs in any case. On average, these are between $4000 to $7000, although there may be deviations. The cost of cremation can vary from region to region or also depend on whether a private or communal crematorium is commissioned with the cremation.
What exactly happens during cremation?
During a cremation, the one in the coffin in which the corpse is located is pushed into the so-called cremation oven. From there it is transported to the main combustion chamber. The actual combustion takes place in several steps:
- First of all, the coffin and clothing of the deceased are burned at a cremation temperature of 900 degrees Celsius. This process takes about three-quarters of an hour. The ashes that are created during this process are not put into the urn.
- In the second step, the corpse burns. This happens at a cremation temperature of around 1200 degrees Celsius and also takes around three-quarters of an hour. What remains are the deceased’s teeth and the mineralized bone ash.
- In the third step, the unburned parts go into the afterburning chamber.
- Then everything cools down in the ash pan.
- Ash processing now follows. All objects that were not burned during the cremation, such as implants, are removed here.
- Finally, the ashes are ground and poured into the urn.
- The urn is closed and labeled.
- The urn is now ready for relatives to collect.
How does a cremation work?
The whole cremation process takes about 90 minutes, depending on the body weight. It takes place at a temperature of initially 900 degrees Celsius, which is then increased to 1,200 degrees Celsius in order to incinerate all combustible components. For the clear assignment, a firebrick is placed on the coffin before the process, which bears the data of the deceased and a number. The ashes, around two to three kilograms, are put into what is known as an ash capsule. During the cremation, the deceased is allowed to wear their own sterling clothing, which you can choose. The crematorium usually makes sure that the clothing is not made of plastic.
Do you have clothes on when you are cremated?
It is common practice for the deceased who are cremated to wear a shroud. This is also called a gown. Such shirts are available in a wide variety of designs. Most look like finer nightgowns. But there are also those that are provided with a collar and bow tie or tie and look like a suit. There are gowns, especially for women and men.
What all gowns have in common is that they are open at the back.
This makes it easier for the undertaker to attract them to the deceased. Since the deceased are also examined again by a medical officer or forensic doctor in the crematorium, the shirt open at the back is a further relief during the examination.
The shirts are made of materials that burn easily and do not secrete harmful substances. Some of the combustion residues could clog or damage the exhaust system filters.
However, normal clothing is also permitted in some crematoria. There are other filters there.
But you can first embed each deceased in their own clothes and have them laid out. If necessary, he must be changed again when he is brought to the crematorium. This can involve additional costs.
There is such a large variety of models in gowns that there is actually no compelling reason to insist on normal clothing. A good undertaker will, however, always take the wishes of the relatives into account and point out the appropriate alternatives.
It is unusual to put the deceased naked in the coffin and bury or cremate them unclothed.
In principle, there is no specific dress requirement for the deceased. They can also be buried in a sweatsuit or any other clothing.
Do you feel pain during cremation?
First of all: Before cremation, definitive death must be clearly established at least twice. So you can be sure that the person really died when they were cremated.
Of course, one can think of a soul depending on one’s belief system. But in most kinds of faith, this is freed from pain and earthly suffering when it leaves the human shell.
So the answer to the question of whether a dead person feels the pain during cremation is: No, the dead do not feel the pain!
How is the body prepared for cremation?
The funeral and burial will be held with an urn. Basically, every cremation requires a coffin that is brought to the crematorium. Each combustion is given a number there. A firebrick with a stamped number is placed on the coffin. The ashes can thus be assigned to the deceased relatives after the cremation. In the case of a burial, the body lies dressed in a coffin, which is lowered into the grave after the funeral service. The deceased is about two meters underground. How quickly the body decays depends on the material of the coffin. Also from the cemetery: the more oxygen in the earth, the faster the body decomposes.
Storage: Until the funeral service takes place, the deceased can be visited by relatives. In the excavation hall in the cemetery, there are separate rooms that can be entered with your own key. The deceased is laid out in the coffin, washed and dressed. The temperature in the room is six degrees to prevent progressive damage to the body.
what does the bible say about cremation?
The Bible is not very clear about cremation, because at that time it was not common among people, who preferred burial. However, we find some cases in it.
As was the case in Joshua 7:25 where Achan and others, who did not carry out God’s orders on a given occasion, had their bodies cremated as a form of punishment.
Another example is the cremation of Saul and his sons, in 1 Samuel 31:12, who was king of Israel, as a way of respect and consideration.
We also find passages in the Bible about those who were part of witchcraft and occultism, who burned children in sacrifices to the gods (Deuteronomy 18:10), which God considered extremely wrong. In that case, cremation is prohibited.
Even with these examples in the Bible, the form most used by her at that time was burial through burial and not cremation.
These burials could be done directly on the ground or inbuilt tombs, considered as a private cemetery.
Most families had a property that functioned as a grave, where all family members were buried.
Thus, the Bible says nothing about correct or incorrect burial, between cremation and burial.
Therefore, the type of burial that should be done depends on the culture of each country and also on the will of each person.