Cremation

Cremation

Overview
Cremation is the process of reducing bodies to basic chemical compound
Chemical compound
A chemical compound is a pure chemical substance consisting of two or more different chemical elements that can be separated into simpler substances by chemical reactions. Chemical compounds have a unique and defined chemical structure; they consist of a fixed ratio of atoms that are held together...

s such as gasses and bone fragments. This is accomplished through high-temperature burning, vaporization and oxidation.
Cremation may serve as a funeral or post-funeral rite that is an alternative to the interment of an intact body in a casket
Coffin
A coffin is a funerary box used in the display and containment of dead people – either for burial or cremation.Contemporary North American English makes a distinction between "coffin", which is generally understood to denote a funerary box having six sides in plan view, and "casket", which...

. Cremated remains, which do not constitute a health risk, may be buried or interred in memorial sites or cemeteries
Cemetery
A cemetery is a place in which dead bodies and cremated remains are buried. The term "cemetery" implies that the land is specifically designated as a burying ground. Cemeteries in the Western world are where the final ceremonies of death are observed...

, or they may be legally retained by relatives and dispersed in a variety of ways.

In many countries, cremation is usually done in a crematorium, but other countries prefer different methods.
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Encyclopedia
Cremation is the process of reducing bodies to basic chemical compound
Chemical compound
A chemical compound is a pure chemical substance consisting of two or more different chemical elements that can be separated into simpler substances by chemical reactions. Chemical compounds have a unique and defined chemical structure; they consist of a fixed ratio of atoms that are held together...

s such as gasses and bone fragments. This is accomplished through high-temperature burning, vaporization and oxidation.
Cremation may serve as a funeral or post-funeral rite that is an alternative to the interment of an intact body in a casket
Coffin
A coffin is a funerary box used in the display and containment of dead people – either for burial or cremation.Contemporary North American English makes a distinction between "coffin", which is generally understood to denote a funerary box having six sides in plan view, and "casket", which...

. Cremated remains, which do not constitute a health risk, may be buried or interred in memorial sites or cemeteries
Cemetery
A cemetery is a place in which dead bodies and cremated remains are buried. The term "cemetery" implies that the land is specifically designated as a burying ground. Cemeteries in the Western world are where the final ceremonies of death are observed...

, or they may be legally retained by relatives and dispersed in a variety of ways.

In many countries, cremation is usually done in a crematorium, but other countries prefer different methods. An example is the practice of open-air cremation
Pyre
A pyre , also known as a funeral pyre, is a structure, usually made of wood, for burning a body as part of a funeral rite...

 in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and in Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

.

Modern cremation process


The cremation occurs in a crematory that is housed within a crematorium and comprises one or more furnaces. A cremator is an industrial furnace
Furnace
A furnace is a device used for heating. The name derives from Latin fornax, oven.In American English and Canadian English, the term furnace on its own is generally used to describe household heating systems based on a central furnace , and sometimes as a synonym for kiln, a device used in the...

 that is able to generate temperatures of 870 – to ensure disintegration of the corpse. A crematorium may be part of a chapel
Chapel
A chapel is a building used by Christians as a place of fellowship and worship. It may be part of a larger structure or complex, such as a church, college, hospital, palace, prison or funeral home, located on board a military or commercial ship, or it may be an entirely free-standing building,...

 or a funeral home
Funeral home
A funeral home, funeral parlor or mortuary, is a business that provides burial and funeral services for the deceased and their families. These services may include aprepared wake and funeral, and the provision of a chapel for the funeral....

 or may be an independent facility or a service offered by a cemetery
Cemetery
A cemetery is a place in which dead bodies and cremated remains are buried. The term "cemetery" implies that the land is specifically designated as a burying ground. Cemeteries in the Western world are where the final ceremonies of death are observed...

.
Modern cremator fuels include oil
Fuel oil
Fuel oil is a fraction obtained from petroleum distillation, either as a distillate or a residue. Broadly speaking, fuel oil is any liquid petroleum product that is burned in a furnace or boiler for the generation of heat or used in an engine for the generation of power, except oils having a flash...

, natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

, propane
Propane
Propane is a three-carbon alkane with the molecular formula , normally a gas, but compressible to a transportable liquid. A by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, it is commonly used as a fuel for engines, oxy-gas torches, barbecues, portable stoves, and residential central...

, and, in some areas like Hong Kong, town gas. However, coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

 and coke
Coke (fuel)
Coke is the solid carbonaceous material derived from destructive distillation of low-ash, low-sulfur bituminous coal. Cokes from coal are grey, hard, and porous. While coke can be formed naturally, the commonly used form is man-made.- History :...

 were used until the early 1960s.

Modern cremators have adjustable-control systems that monitor the furnace during cremation. These systems automatically monitor the interior to tell when the cremation process is complete, after which the furnace automatically shuts down. The time required for cremation varies from body to body, and, in modern furnaces, the process may be as fast as one hour per 45 kilograms (99.2 lb) of body weight.

A cremator is not designed to cremate more than one body at a time; cremation of multiple bodies is illegal in the US and in many other countries. Exceptions may be made in special cases, such as with stillborn twins or with a stillborn baby and a mother who died during childbirth. In such cases, the bodies must be cremated in the same container.

The chamber where the body is placed is called a retort and is lined with heat-resistant refractory
Refractory
A refractory material is one that retains its strength at high temperatures. ASTM C71 defines refractories as "non-metallic materials having those chemical and physical properties that make them applicable for structures, or as components of systems, that are exposed to environments above...

 bricks. The coffin or container is inserted (charged) into the retort as quickly as possible to avoid heat loss through the top door. The container may be mounted on a charger (motorized trolley) that can quickly insert it, or on a fixed or movable hopper that allows the container to slide into the cremator.

Modern cremators are computer controlled to ensure legal and safe use. For example, the retort door cannot be opened until the cremator has reached its operating temperature
Operating temperature
An operating temperature is the temperature at which an electrical or mechanical device operates. The device will operate effectively within a specified temperature range which varies based on the device function and application context, and ranges from the minimum operating temperature to the...

, and U.S. federal regulations require that newly constructed cremators feature dual
Fail-safe
A fail-safe or fail-secure device is one that, in the event of failure, responds in a way that will cause no harm, or at least a minimum of harm, to other devices or danger to personnel....

 electrical and mechanical heat-shutoff switches and door releases that are accessible from inside the retort. Refractory bricks are typically replaced every five years, because thermal fatigue gradually introduces fissures that reduce the insulating strength.

Some crematoria allow relatives to view the charging. This is sometimes done for religious reasons, such as in traditional Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 and Jain funerals.

The size of most cremators is standardized. Typically, larger cities have access to an oversized cremator that can handle corpse in the 200 kilograms (440.9 lb)+ range. Most large crematoria have small cremators installed for the cremation of fetal and infant remains.

Body container


In the U.S., a body ready to be cremated must be placed in a container for cremation, which can be a simple corrugated cardboard box or a wooden casket (coffin
Coffin
A coffin is a funerary box used in the display and containment of dead people – either for burial or cremation.Contemporary North American English makes a distinction between "coffin", which is generally understood to denote a funerary box having six sides in plan view, and "casket", which...

). Most casket manufacturers provide lines of caskets that are specially built for cremation. Another option is a cardboard box that fits inside a wooden shell, which is designed to look like a traditional casket. After the funeral service, the box is removed from the shell before cremation, permitting the shell to be reused. Funeral home
Funeral home
A funeral home, funeral parlor or mortuary, is a business that provides burial and funeral services for the deceased and their families. These services may include aprepared wake and funeral, and the provision of a chapel for the funeral....

s may also offer rental caskets, which are traditional caskets only used during the services, after which the bodies are transferred to other containers for cremation. Rental caskets are sometimes designed with removable beds and liners, which are replaced after each use.

In the UK, the body is not removed from the coffin and is not placed into a container as described above. The body is cremated with the coffin, which is why all UK coffins that are to be used for cremation must comprise combustible material. The Code of Cremation Practice forbids the opening of the coffin once it has arrived at the crematorium, and rules stipulate that it must be cremated within 72 hours of the funeral service. Thus, in the UK, bodies are cremated in the same coffin as they are placed in at the undertaker's although the regulations allow the use of an approved 'cover' during the funeral service. It is recommended that jewelry be removed before the coffin is sealed for this reason. After the cremation process has been completed, the remains are passed through a magnetic field to remove any metal, which will be interred elsewhere in the crematorium grounds, or increasingly, recycled. The ashes are then given to relatives or loved ones or scattered in the crematorium grounds where facilities exist.

In Germany, the process is mostly similar to the UK. The body is cremated in the coffin, additionally, a piece of fireclay with a number on it is used for identifying the remains of the dead body after burning.
The remains are then placed in a container called an ash capsule, which will in general be placed into a cinerary urn.

In Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, the deceased are cremated in a coffin supplied by the undertaker. Reusable or cardboard coffins are becoming popular, with several manufacturers now supplying them. If cost is an issue, a plain, particle-board coffin (known in the trade as a "chippie") will be offered. Handles (if fitted) are plastic and approved for use in a cremator. Coffins vary from natural cardboard or unfinished particle board (covered with a velvet pall if there is a service) to solid timber; most are veneered particle board.

Cremations can be "delivery only," with no preceding chapel service at the crematorium (although a church service may have been held) or preceded by a service in one of the crematorium chapels. Delivery-only allows crematoria to schedule cremations to make best use of the cremators, perhaps by holding the body overnight in a refrigerator. As a result, a lower fee is applicable. Delivery-only may be referred to in industry jargon as "west chapel service."

Burning and ashes collection



The box containing the body is placed in the retort and incinerated at a temperature of 760 to 1150 °C
Celsius
Celsius is a scale and unit of measurement for temperature. It is named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius , who developed a similar temperature scale two years before his death...

 (1400 to 2100 °F
Fahrenheit
Fahrenheit is the temperature scale proposed in 1724 by, and named after, the German physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit . Within this scale, the freezing of water into ice is defined at 32 degrees, while the boiling point of water is defined to be 212 degrees...

). During the cremation process, the greater portion of the body (especially the organs and other soft tissues) is vaporized and oxidized by the intense heat; gases released are discharged through the exhaust system. The process usually takes 90 minutes to two hours, with larger bodies taking longer time.

Jewelry, such as wristwatches and rings, are ordinarily removed before cremation, and returned to the family. The only non-natural item required to be removed is a pacemaker
Pacemaker
An artificial pacemaker is a medical device that uses electrical impulses to regulate the beating of the heart.Pacemaker may also refer to:-Medicine:...

, because it could explode and damage the cremator; the mercury contained in a pacemaker's batteries also poses an unacceptable risk of air pollution. In the United Kingdom, and possibly other countries, the undertaker is required to remove pacemakers prior to delivering the body to the crematorium, and sign a declaration stating that any pacemaker has been removed.

Contrary to popular belief, the cremated remains are not ashes in the usual sense. After the incineration is completed, the dry bone fragments are swept out of the retort and pulverized by a machine called a cremulator to process them into "ashes" or "cremated remains", although pulverization may also be performed by hand. This leaves the bone with a fine sand like texture and color, able to be scattered without need for mixing with any foreign matter, though the size of the grain varies depending on the cremulator used. Their weight is approximately 4 pounds (1.8 kg) for adult human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

 females and 6 pounds (2.7 kg) for adult human males. There are various types of cremulators, including rotating devices, grinders, and older models using heavy metal balls.
The grinding process typically takes about 20 minutes.


In a Japanese funeral
Japanese funeral
A Japanese funeral A Japanese funeral A Japanese funeral (葬儀 sōgi or 葬式 sōshiki)includes a wake, the cremation of the deceased, a burial in a family grave, and a periodic memorial service. According to 2007 statistics, 99.81% of deceased Japanese are cremated...

 and in Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

, the bones are not pulverized unless requested beforehand. When not pulverized the bones are collected by the family and stored as one might do with ashes.

The appearance of cremated remains after grinding is one of the reasons they are called ashes, although a non-technical term sometimes used is "cremains", a portmanteau of "cremated" and "remains". (The Cremation Association of North America prefers that the word "cremains" not be used for referring to "human cremated remains." The reason given is that "cremains" is thought to have less connection with the deceased, whereas a loved one's "cremated remains" has a more identifiable human connection.)

After final grinding, the ashes are placed in a container, which can be anything from a simple cardboard box to a decorative urn
Urn
An urn is a vase, ordinarily covered, that usually has a narrowed neck above a footed pedestal. "Knife urns" placed on pedestals flanking a dining-room sideboard were an English innovation for high-style dining rooms of the late 1760s...

. The default container used by most crematoriums, when nothing more expensive has been selected, is almost always a hinged snap-locking box of plastic.

An unavoidable consequence of cremation is that a tiny residue of bodily remains is left in the chamber after cremation and mixes with subsequent cremations.

Ash weight and composition


Cremated remains are mostly dry calcium phosphates with some minor minerals, such as salts of sodium and potassium. Sulfur and most carbon are driven off as oxidized gases during the process, although a relatively small amount of carbon may remain as carbonate.

The ash remaining represents very roughly 3.5% of the body's original mass (2.5% in children). Because the weight of dry bone fragments is so closely connected to skeletal mass, their weight varies greatly from person to person. Because many changes in body composition (such as fat and muscle loss or gain) do not affect the weight of cremated remains, their weight can be more closely predicted from the person's height and sex than from their simple weight.

Ashes of adults can be said to weigh from 4 pounds (1.8 kg) to 6 pounds (2.7 kg), but the first figure is roughly the figure for women and the second for men. The mean weight of adult cremated remains in a Florida, U.S. sample was 5.3 lb (approx. 2.4 kg) for adults (range 2 to 8 lb or 0.90718474 to 3.6 kg). This was found to be distributed bimodally according to sex, with the mean being 6 pounds (2.7 kg) for men (range 4 to 8 lb or 1.8 to 3.6 kg) and 4 pounds (1.8 kg) for women (range 2 to 6 lb or 0.90718474 to 2.7 kg). In this sample, generally all adult cremated remains over 6 pounds (2.7 kg) were from males, and those under 4 pounds (1.8 kg) were from females.

Not all that remains is bone. There may be melted metal lumps from missed jewelry; casket furniture; dental fillings; and surgical implants, such as hip replacements. Large items such as titanium hip replacements (which tarnish but do not melt) or casket hinges are usually removed before processing, as they may damage the processor. (If they are missed at first, they must ultimately be removed before processing is complete, as items such as titanium joint replacements are far too durable to be ground). Implants may be returned to the family, but are more commonly sold as ferrous/non-ferrous scrap metal
Scrap Metal
Scrap Metal were a band from Broome, Western Australia who played rock music with elements of country and reggae. The members had Aboriginal, Irish, Filipino, French, Chinese, Scottish, Indonesian and Japanese heritage. The band toured nationally as part of the Bran Nue Dae musical and with...

. After the remains are processed, smaller bits of metal such as tooth fillings, and rings (commonly known as gleanings) are sieved out and may be later interred in common, consecrated ground in a remote area of the cemetery. They may also be sold as precious metal scrap.

Methods of keeping or disposing of the cremated remains



Cremated remains are returned to the next of kin in a rectangular plastic container, contained within a further cardboard box or velvet sack, or in an urn if the family had already purchased one. An official certificate of cremation prepared under the authority of the crematorium accompanies the remains, and if required by law, the permit for disposition of human remains, which must remain with the cremated remains.

Cremated remains can be kept in an urn, stored in a special memorial building (columbarium
Columbarium
A columbarium is a place for the respectful and usually public storage of cinerary urns . The term comes from the Latin columba and originally referred to compartmentalized housing for doves and pigeons .The Columbarium of Pomponius Hylas is a particularly fine ancient Roman example, rich in...

), buried in the ground at many locations or sprinkled on a special field, mountain, or in the sea
Burial at sea
Burial at sea describes the procedure of disposing of human remains in the ocean, normally from a ship or boat. It is regularly performed by navies, but also can be done by private citizens in many countries.-By religion:...

. In addition, there are several services in which the cremated remains will be scattered in a variety of ways and locations. Some examples are via a helium balloon, through fireworks, shot from shotgun shells, or scattered from an airplane. One service sends a lipstick-tube sized sample of the cremated remains into low earth orbit, where they remain for years (but not permanently) before re-entering the atmosphere. Another company claims to turn part of the cremated remains into synthetic diamond
Synthetic diamond
Synthetic diamond is diamond produced in a technological process; as opposed to natural diamond, which is created in geological processes. Synthetic diamond is also widely known as HPHT diamond or CVD diamond, denoting the production method, High-Pressure High-Temperature synthesis and Chemical...

s that can then be made into jewelry. Cremated remains may also be incorporated, with urn and cement, into part of an artificial reef, or they can also be mixed into paint and made into a portrait of the deceased. Cremated remains can be scattered in national parks in the U.S. with a special permit. They can also be scattered on private property with the owner's permission. A portion of the cremated remains may be retained in a specially designed locket known as cremation jewelry. The cremated remains may also be entombed. Most cemeteries will grant permission for burial of cremated remains in occupied cemetery plots that have already been purchased or are in use by the families disposing of the cremated remains without any additional charge or oversight.

The final disposition depends on the personal wishes of the deceased as well as their cultural and religious beliefs. Some religions will permit the cremated remains to be sprinkled or kept at home. Some religions, such as Roman Catholicism, insist on either burying or entombing the remains. Hinduism obliges the closest male relative (son, grandson, etc.) of the deceased to immerse the cremated remains in the holy river Ganges, preferably at the holy city of Triveni Sangam, Allahabad
Allahabad
Allahabad , or Settled by God in Persian, is a major city of India and is one of the main holy cities of Hinduism. It was renamed by the Mughals from the ancient name of Prayaga , and is by some accounts the second-oldest city in India. It is located in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh,...

, or Varanasi
Varanasi
-Etymology:The name Varanasi has its origin possibly from the names of the two rivers Varuna and Assi, for the old city lies in the north shores of the Ganga bounded by its two tributaries, the Varuna and the Asi, with the Ganges being to its south...

 or Haridwar
Haridwar
Haridwar is an important pilgrimage city and municipality in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand, India...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. The Sikhs and Punjabi Hindus immerse the remains in Sutlej
Sutlej
The Sutlej River is the longest of the five rivers that flow through the historic crossroad region of Punjab in northern India and Pakistan. It is located north of the Vindhya Range, south of the Hindu Kush segment of the Himalayas, and east of the Central Sulaiman Range in Pakistan.The Sutlej...

, usually at Sri Harkiratpur. In southern India, the ashes are immersed in the river Kaveri at Paschima vahini in Srirangapattana at a stretch where the river flows from east to west, depicting the life of a human being from sunrise to sunset. In Japan and Taiwan, the remaining bone fragments are given to the family and are used in a burial ritual before final interment.

Reasons for choosing cremation


Apart from religious reasons (discussed below), some people find they prefer cremation to traditional burial for personal reasons. The thought of a long, slow decomposition process is unappealing to some;
many people find that they prefer cremation because it disposes of the body immediately.

Other people view cremation as a way of simplifying their funeral process. These people view a ground burial as an unneeded complication of their funeral process, and thus choose cremation to make their services as simple as possible.

The cost factor tends to make cremation attractive. Generally speaking, cremation is cheaper than traditional burial services, especially if direct cremation is chosen, in which the body is cremated as soon as legally possible without any sort of services.

Cremated remains can be scattered or buried. Cremation plots or columbarium
Columbarium
A columbarium is a place for the respectful and usually public storage of cinerary urns . The term comes from the Latin columba and originally referred to compartmentalized housing for doves and pigeons .The Columbarium of Pomponius Hylas is a particularly fine ancient Roman example, rich in...

 niches are usually cheaper than a traditional burial plot or mausoleum crypt, and require less space. Some religions, such as Roman Catholicism, require the burial or entombment of cremated remains, but burial of cremated remains may often be accomplished in the burial plot of another person, such as a family member, without any additional cost. This option is charged for in England in an Anglican church where the fee is set by the Table of Parochial Fees (£36 to incumbent and £78 to church council) a total of £114 in 2010 with a marker charged as extra. It is also very common to scatter the remains in a place which was liked by the deceased such as the sea, a river, a beach or a park, following their last will. This is generally forbidden in public places but very easy to do. Some persons choose to have a small part of their ashes (usually less than 1 part in 1000, because of cost constraints) scattered in space (known as space burial
Space burial
Space burial is a burial procedure in which a small sample of the cremated ashes of the deceased are placed in a capsule the size of a tube of lipstick and are launched into space using a rocket...

).

Environmental impact


Cremation might be preferable for environmental
Natural environment
The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth or some region thereof. It is an environment that encompasses the interaction of all living species....

 reasons. Burial is a known source of certain environmental contaminants, with the coffin itself being the major contaminant.
Yet another environmental concern, of sorts, is that traditional burial takes up a great deal of space. In a traditional burial, the body is buried in a casket made from a variety of materials. In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the casket is often placed inside a concrete
Concrete
Concrete is a composite construction material, composed of cement and other cementitious materials such as fly ash and slag cement, aggregate , water and chemical admixtures.The word concrete comes from the Latin word...

 vault or liner before burial in the ground. While individually this may not take much room, combined with other burials, it can over time cause serious space concerns. Many cemeteries
Cemetery
A cemetery is a place in which dead bodies and cremated remains are buried. The term "cemetery" implies that the land is specifically designated as a burying ground. Cemeteries in the Western world are where the final ceremonies of death are observed...

, particularly in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...


and Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 as well as those in larger cities, have run out of permanent space. In Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

, for example, traditional burial plots are extremely scarce and expensive,
and in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, a space crisis led Harriet Harman
Harriet Harman
Harriet Ruth Harman QC is a British Labour Party politician, who is the Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham, and was MP for the predecessorPeckham constituency from 1982 to 1997...

 to propose reopening old graves for "double-decker" burials.
However,many environmentalists object that cremation in huge number has a bad effect on air & soil pollution.

Islam


Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

categorically disapproves of cremation. Islam has specific rites
Islamic funeral
Funerals in Islam follow fairly specific rites, though they are subject to regional interpretation and variation in custom. In all cases, however, sharia calls for burial of the body, preceded by a simple ritual involving bathing and shrouding the body, followed by salah...

 for the treatment of the body after death. Usually deceased are wrapped by a single piece of cloth for burial and without a casket.

Indian religions



The Indian religions, such as Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

, Sikhism
Sikhism
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

 and Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, mandate cremation. In these religions, the body is seen as an instrument to carry the soul. As an example, the Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
The ' , also more simply known as Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata, but is frequently treated as a freestanding text, and in particular, as an Upanishad in its own right, one of the several books that constitute general Vedic tradition...

. According to Hindu philosophy the human body is a combination of five basic natural elements; namely agni
Agni
Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

 (fire), jala (water), vayu
Vayu
Vāyu is a primary Hindu deity, the Lord of the winds, the father of Bhima and the spiritual father of Lord Hanuman...

 (air), prithvi
Prithvi
Prithvi is the sanskrit name for earth and its essence Prithivi Tattwa, in the form of a mother goddess or godmother. Prithvi is also called Dhra, Dharti, Dhrithri, meaning that which holds everything. As Prithvi Devi, she is one of two wives of Lord Vishnu. His other wife is Lakshmi. Prithvi is...

 (earth) and akasha (space/ether). When one dies, fire (agni tattva) ceases, and that living form is sent to its original state of creation. Fire (in the form of cremation) is used to complete the fifth element.

According to Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 traditions, the reasons for preferring to destroy the corpse by fire, over burying it into ground, is to induce a feeling of detachment into the freshly disembodied spirit, which will be helpful to encourage it into passing to "the other world" (the ultimate destination of the dead). Hindus have 16 rites of passage
Rites of Passage
Rites of Passage is an African American History program sponsored by the Stamford, Connecticut US public schools. The program consists of an extra day of schooling on Saturday for 12 weeks, service projects, and a culminating educational trip to Gambia and Senegal. Gambia and Senegal are the...

 (Saṃskāra
Samskara
Samskara may refer to:* Saṃskāra, Hindu rites* Saṃskāra , in Buddhism, mental and volitional formations* Samskara , a technique in ayurvedic medicine...

); i.e. A Hindu undergoes 16 rituals during his lifetime, like Naming ceremony, Thread ceremony: beginning of student life, Marriage, etc., and the last being cremation. Cremation is referred to as antim-samskara, literally meaning "the last rites." At the time of the cremation or "last rites," a "Puja" (ritual worship) is performed. Hindus believe that the cremation ceremony is not just a disposal of the dead body, but the union of Atma
Atman (Hinduism)
Ātman is a Sanskrit word that means 'self'. In Hindu philosophy, especially in the Vedanta school of Hinduism it refers to one's true self beyond identification with phenomena...

 (Soul) with the Paramatma (The universal spirit). The holy text of Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

, one of the oldest Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 scriptures, has many Ruchas (also written and pronounced as Richas) (small poems) related to cremation, which state that Lord Agni
Agni
Agni is a Hindu deity, one of the most important of the Vedic gods. He is the god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices. The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods...

 (God of Fire
Fire
Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products. Slower oxidative processes like rusting or digestion are not included by this definition....

) will purify the dead body, also known as the Parthiv. Therefore, the Parthiv is given over to him.

Open air cremations are becoming less frequent in urban areas. There are crematoriums in most major cities, which are in effect indoor electric or gas based furnaces. Most cremations take place in these indoor crematoriums.

In Hinduism, during cremation the eldest son, the adopted son, the younger brother, or in the modern period even daughters put first fire on the dead person's body. This ritual is considered mandatory. Traditionally, widowed women threw themselves onto their husband's funeral pyre as there was no place for widows in Indian society. This practice was made illegal in 1829, but it has occasionally continued despite the risk of prosecution.

Bodies of holy men and children, however, are buried
Burial
Burial is the act of placing a person or object into the ground. This is accomplished by excavating a pit or trench, placing an object in it, and covering it over.-History:...

 not cremated. Certain castes and tribes who get classified as Hindus also perform burials, not cremations.

Bali


Balinese Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 is widely divergent from the India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 orthodoxy. As such, most practices of the Indian Hindu "mainstream" are ignored and abandoned, especially regarding the use of butter
Butter
Butter is a dairy product made by churning fresh or fermented cream or milk. It is generally used as a spread and a condiment, as well as in cooking applications, such as baking, sauce making, and pan frying...

.
Balinese
Balinese people
The Balinese population of 3.0 million live mostly on the island of Bali, making up 89% of the island's population. There are also significant populations on the island of Lombok, and in the eastern-most regions of Java The Balinese population of 3.0 million (1.5% of Indonesia's population) live...

 Hindu dead are generally buried for a period of time, which may exceed one month
Month
A month is a unit of time, used with calendars, which was first used and invented in Mesopotamia, as a natural period related to the motion of the Moon; month and Moon are cognates. The traditional concept arose with the cycle of moon phases; such months are synodic months and last approximately...

 or more, so that the cremation ceremony (Ngaben
Ngaben
Ngaben, or Cremation Ceremony, is the ritual performed in Bali to send the deceased to the next life. The body of the deceased will be placed as if sleeping, and the family will continue to treat the deceased as sleeping...

) can occur on an auspicious day in the Balinese
Balinese people
The Balinese population of 3.0 million live mostly on the island of Bali, making up 89% of the island's population. There are also significant populations on the island of Lombok, and in the eastern-most regions of Java The Balinese population of 3.0 million (1.5% of Indonesia's population) live...

-Javanese Calendar
Calendar
A calendar is a system of organizing days for social, religious, commercial, or administrative purposes. This is done by giving names to periods of time, typically days, weeks, months, and years. The name given to each day is known as a date. Periods in a calendar are usually, though not...

 system ("Saka"). Additionally, if the departed was a court servant, member of the court or minor noble
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

, the cremation can be postponed up to several years to coincide with the cremation of their Prince
Prince
Prince is a general term for a ruler, monarch or member of a monarch's or former monarch's family, and is a hereditary title in the nobility of some European states. The feminine equivalent is a princess...

. Balinese funerals are very expensive and the body may be interred until the family can afford it or until there is a group funeral planned by the village or family when costs will be less. The purpose of burying the corpse is for the decay
Decomposition
Decomposition is the process by which organic material is broken down into simpler forms of matter. The process is essential for recycling the finite matter that occupies physical space in the biome. Bodies of living organisms begin to decompose shortly after death...

 process to consume the fluid
Fluid
In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually deforms under an applied shear stress. Fluids are a subset of the phases of matter and include liquids, gases, plasmas and, to some extent, plastic solids....

s of the corpse, which allows for an easier, more rapid and more complete cremation.

Christianity


In Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 countries and cultures, cremation has historically been discouraged, but now in many denominations it is accepted.

Roman Catholicism


The Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

's discouragement of cremation stemmed from several ideas: first, that the body, as the instrument through which the sacrament
Sacrament
A sacrament is a sacred rite recognized as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites.-General definitions and terms:...

s are received, is itself a sacramental, holy object; second, that as an integral part of the human person,
it should be disposed of in a way that honors and reverences it, and many early practices involved with disposal of dead bodies were viewed as pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 in origin or an insult to the body;
and third, that it constituted a denial of the resurrection of the body. Cremation was forbidden because it might interfere with God's ability to resurrect the body; however, this was refuted as early as Minucius Felix, in his dialogue Octavius
Octavius (dialogue)
Octavius is an early writing in defense of Christianity by Marcus Minucius Felix. It is written in the form of a dialogue between the pagan Caecilius Natalis and the Christian Octavius Januarius, a provincial lawyer, the friend and fellow-student of the author....

.

Cremation was, in fact, never forbidden in and of itself; even in Medieval Europe, cremation was practiced in situations where there were multitudes of corpses simultaneously present, such as after a battle
Battle
Generally, a battle is a conceptual component in the hierarchy of combat in warfare between two or more armed forces, or combatants. In a battle, each combatant will seek to defeat the others, with defeat determined by the conditions of a military campaign...

, after a pestilence
Epidemic
In epidemiology, an epidemic , occurs when new cases of a certain disease, in a given human population, and during a given period, substantially exceed what is expected based on recent experience...

 or famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

, and where there was an imminent fear of diseases spreading from the corpses, since individual burials with digging graves would take too long and body decomposition would begin before all the corpses had been interred.

Beginning in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, and even more so in the 18th century and later, rationalists and classicists began to advocate cremation again as a statement denying the resurrection and/or the afterlife, although the pro-cremation movement more often than not took care to address and refute theological concerns about cremation in their works. Sentiment within the Catholic Church against cremation became hardened in the face of the association of cremation with "professed enemies of God." Rules were made against cremation, which were softened in the 1960s. The Catholic Church still officially prefers the traditional burial or entombment of the deceased, but cremation is now permitted as long as it is not done to express a refusal to believe in the resurrection of the body.

Current Catholic liturgical regulations requires that, if requested by the family of the deceased, the cremation must not take place until after the funeral Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

. This way the body may be present for the Mass so that it, symbolizing the person, may receive blessing
Blessing
A blessing, is the infusion of something with holiness, spiritual redemption, divine will, or one's hope or approval.- Etymology and Germanic paganism :...

s, be the subject of prayer
Prayer
Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional rapport to a deity through deliberate practice. Prayer may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. When language is used, prayer may take the form of...

s in which it is mentioned, and since the body's presence "better expresses the values which the Church affirms in those (funeral) rites (or Mass)." Once the Mass itself is concluded, the body could be cremated and a second service could be held at the crematorium or cemetery where the cremated remains are to be interred just as for a body burial.

Although "The Church clearly prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites,...Sometimes, however, it is not possible for the body to be present for the Funeral Mass. When extraordinary circumstances (emphasis added) make the cremation of a body the only feasible choice, pastoral sensitivity must be exercised...." In other words, cremation is discouraged and Funeral Masses with cremated remains present is not permitted in keeping with the truth of the sign in the liturgical action. This is because, ashes are the sign of the corruption of the human body, and thus inadequately represent the character of ‘sleeping’ awaiting the resurrection. Furthermore, it is the body, not the ashes, that receives liturgical honors, because through baptism it has become temple of the Spirit of God. It is of greatest interest to keep the truth of the sign, so that both the liturgical catechesis and the very celebration may be held truthfully and fruitfully. Therefore, if the body of the deceased cannot be brought to church for the celebration of the funeral mass, it is allowed to celebrate the same mass, whenever it be permitted, even if the body of the deceased is absent, according to the rules to be observed for the celebration in the presence of the body.

In 1997 the Vatican's
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is the congregation of the Roman Curia that handles most affairs relating to liturgical practices of the Latin Catholic Church as distinct from the Eastern Catholic Churches and also some technical matters relating to the...

 granted an indult
Indult
An indult in Catholic canon law is a permission, or privilege, granted by the competent church authority – the Holy See or the diocesan bishop, as the case may be – for an exception from a particular norm of church law in an individual case, for example, members of the consecrated life seeking to...

 to allow for "...the celebration of the Funeral Liturgy
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

, including Mass, in the presence of the cremated remains being made less rare, although still not preferred, in the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States of America. In order for it to be allowed certain qualifications must be met. These qualifications include: 1) the cremation has not be inspired by motives contrary to Christian teaching such as respect for the body or the resurrection of the body. 2) the local "...bishop (judges) it is pastorally appropriate to celebrate the liturgy for the dead, with or without Mass, with the ashes present, taking into account the concrete circumstances in each individual case, and in harmony with the spirit and precise content of the current canonical and liturgical norms." In other words, in the USA there is no guarantee that in every case of a cremation prior to the Church service taking place will receive a Funeral Mass. This indult does not mention other rites
Sui iuris
Sui iuris, commonly also spelled sui juris, is a Latin phrase that literally means “of one’s own laws”.-Secular law:In civil law the phrase sui juris indicates legal competence, the capacity to manage one’s own affairs...

, dioceses, or nations.

When a Funeral Liturgy is to be celebrated with the cremated remains present they must be in worthy vessel and placed on small prepared table or stand located in the space normally occupied by the coffin. The usual funeral prayers and practices are to be adapted suit the occasion, for example prayers which explicitly refer to the body present under normal circumstances would need to be changed.

Regardless of the location and Funeral Liturgy, or lack thereof, the Church still specifies requirements for the reverent disposition of ashes, normally that the ashes are to be buried or entombed in an appropriate container, such as an urn (rather than scattered or preserved in the family home). Catholic cemeteries today regularly receive cremated remains, and many have columbaria
Columbarium
A columbarium is a place for the respectful and usually public storage of cinerary urns . The term comes from the Latin columba and originally referred to compartmentalized housing for doves and pigeons .The Columbarium of Pomponius Hylas is a particularly fine ancient Roman example, rich in...

.

Protestantism


Protestant churches were much more welcoming of the use of cremation and at a much earlier date than the Catholic Church; pro-cremation sentiment was not unanimous among Protestants, however. The first crematoria in the Protestant countries were built in 1870s, and in 1908, the Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

—one of the most famous Anglican churches—required that remains be cremated for burial in the abbey's precincts. Scattering, or "strewing," is an acceptable practice in many Protestant denominations, and some churches have their own "garden of remembrance" on their grounds in which remains can be scattered. Other groups also support cremation. These include the Seventh-day Adventist Church
Seventh-day Adventist Church
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Protestant Christian denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ...

.

Eastern Orthodox and others who forbid cremation


On the other hand, some branches of Christianity oppose cremation, including some minority Protestant groups and Orthodox.
Most notably, the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches forbid cremation. Exceptions are made for circumstances where it may not be avoided (when civil authority demands it, or epidemics) or if it may be sought for good cause, but when a cremation is willfully chosen for no good cause by the one who is deceased, he or she is not permitted a funeral in the church and may also be permanently excluded from liturgical prayers for the departed. In Orthodoxy, cremation is a rejection of the dogma
Dogma
Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization. It is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practitioners or believers...

 of the general resurrection, and as such is viewed harshly.

Latter Day Saints


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in past decades has had certain leaders say that cremation is discouraged, but not expressly forbidden. In the 1950s, Apostle Bruce R. McConkie
Bruce R. McConkie
Bruce Redd McConkie was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1972 until his death...

 wrote that "only under the most extraordinary and unusual circumstances" would cremation be consistent with LDS teachings. More recent LDS publications have provided instructions for how to dress the deceased when they have received their temple endowments (and thus wear temple garments) prior to cremation for those wishing to do so, or in countries where the law requires cremation. Except where required by law, the family of the deceased may decide whether the body should be cremated, though the Church "does not normally encourage cremation."

Jehovah's Witnesses


Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

 publications have stated, "Cremation is not condemned by Jehovah
Jehovah
Jehovah is an anglicized representation of Hebrew , a vocalization of the Tetragrammaton , the proper name of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible....

. ...Something that might influence a person’s decisions in making these arrangements, however, is the way that the local community views funeral customs. Those who abide by Bible principles would certainly not want to do anything that would cause unnecessary offense to their neighbors."

Judaism


Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 traditionally disapproved of cremation in the past (it was the traditional means of disposing the dead in the neighboring Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 cultures). It has also disapproved of preservation of the dead by means of embalming and mummifying, a practice of the ancient Egyptians. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, as the Jewish cemeteries in many European towns had become crowded and were running out of space, cremation became an approved means of corpse disposal amongst the Liberal Jews
Liberal Judaism
Liberal Judaism , is one of the two forms of Progressive Judaism found in the United Kingdom, the other being Reform Judaism. Liberal Judaism, which developed at the beginning of the twentieth century is less conservative than UK Reform Judaism...

. Current liberal movements like Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism refers to various beliefs, practices and organizations associated with the Reform Jewish movement in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the...

 still support cremation, although burial remains the preferred option.

The Orthodox Jews
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

 have maintained a stricter line on cremation, and disapprove of it as Halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 (Jewish law) forbids it. This halakhic concern is grounded in the upholding of bodily resurrection
Resurrection
Resurrection refers to the literal coming back to life of the biologically dead. It is used both with respect to particular individuals or the belief in a General Resurrection of the dead at the end of the world. The General Resurrection is featured prominently in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim...

 as a core belief of traditional Judaism, as opposed to other ancient trends such as the Sadduccees, who denied it. Conservative Jewish
Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism is a modern stream of Judaism that arose out of intellectual currents in Germany in the mid-19th century and took institutional form in the United States in the early 1900s.Conservative Judaism has its roots in the school of thought known as Positive-Historical Judaism,...

 groups also oppose cremation.

Some secular Jews may reject cremation perhaps in reaction to The Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

, in which the Jewish victims of Nazi genocide were disposed of by cremation at the death camps
Nazi concentration camps
Nazi Germany maintained concentration camps throughout the territories it controlled. The first Nazi concentration camps set up in Germany were greatly expanded after the Reichstag fire of 1933, and were intended to hold political prisoners and opponents of the regime...

. At many former Nazi death camps, mounds of ashes are present beneath a shallow layer of dirt.

In Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 there were no formal crematories until 2007 when B&L Cremation Systems Inc. became the first crematory
Crematory
A crematory is a machine in which cremation takes place. Crematories are usually found in funeral homes, cemeteries, or in stand-alone facilities. A facility which houses the actual cremator units is referred to as a crematorium.-History:Prior to the Industrial Revolution, any cremation which took...

 manufacturer to sell a retort to Israel. In August 2007, the predominantly orthodox ZAKA
ZAKA
ZAKA , is a series of voluntary community emergency response teams in Israel, each operating in a police district . These organizations are officially recognized by the government...

 members in Israel were accused of burning down a secret crematorium. ZAKA spokespersons denied any involvement, but its founder, Yehuda Meshi Zahav, applauded the act of arson
Arson
Arson is the crime of intentionally or maliciously setting fire to structures or wildland areas. It may be distinguished from other causes such as spontaneous combustion and natural wildfires...

, calling the existence of the crematorium a "desecration of the dead" and that the crematorium was "destined to disappear in flames".
Since that incident, cremation takes place in Israel without interruption, by Aley Shalechet, the first modern funeral home in Israel.
.

Near East


The Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 forbids cremation, except when required by law.

Traditionally, Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

 disavows cremation or burial to preclude pollution of fire or earth. The traditional method of corpse disposal is through ritual exposure in a "Tower of Silence", but both burial and cremation are increasingly popular alternatives. Some contemporary figures of the faith have opted for cremation. Parsi-Zoroastrian singer Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury was a British musician, singer and songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. As a performer, he was known for his flamboyant stage persona and powerful vocals over a four-octave range...

 of the group Queen
Queen (band)
Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1971, originally consisting of Freddie Mercury , Brian May , John Deacon , and Roger Taylor...

 was cremated after his death.

China


Neo-Confucianism
Neo-Confucianism
Neo-Confucianism is an ethical and metaphysical Chinese philosophy influenced by Confucianism, that was primarily developed during the Song Dynasty and Ming Dynasty, but which can be traced back to Han Yu and Li Ao in the Tang Dynasty....

 under Zhu Xi
Zhu Xi
Zhū​ Xī​ or Chu Hsi was a Song Dynasty Confucian scholar who became the leading figure of the School of Principle and the most influential rationalist Neo-Confucian in China...

 strongly discourages cremation of one's parents' corpses as unfilial
Filial piety
In Confucian ideals, filial piety is one of the virtues to be held above all else: a respect for the parents and ancestors. The Confucian classic Xiao Jing or Classic of Xiào, thought to be written around 470 BCE, has historically been the authoritative source on the Confucian tenet of xiào /...

.

Traditionally, Buddhist monks in China exclusively practiced cremation because other normal Chinese detest cremation, refusing to do it. But now, the atheist Communist party enforces a strict cremation policy on Han Chinese. However, exceptions are made for Hui
Hui people
The Hui people are an ethnic group in China, defined as Chinese speaking people descended from foreign Muslims. They are typically distinguished by their practice of Islam, however some also practice other religions, and many are direct descendants of Silk Road travelers.In modern People's...

 who do not cremate their dead due to Islamic beliefs.

Ancient


Cremation dates to at least 20,000 years ago in the archaeological record with the Mungo Lady, the remains of a partly cremated body found at Mungo Lake, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

.

Alternative death rituals emphasizing one method of disposal of a body—inhumation (burial), cremation, and exposure—have gone through periods of preference throughout history.

In the Middle East and Europe, both burial and cremation are evident in the archaeological record in the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

. Cultural groups had their own preference and prohibitions. The ancient Egyptians developed an intricate transmigration of soul theology, which prohibited cremation, and this was adopted widely among other Semitic peoples. The Babylonians, according to Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

, embalmed their dead. Early Persians practiced cremation, but this became prohibited during the Zoroastrian Period. Phoenicians practiced both cremation and burial. From the Cycladic civilisation in 3000 BC until the Sub-Mycenaean
Mycenaean Greece
Mycenaean Greece was a cultural period of Bronze Age Greece taking its name from the archaeological site of Mycenae in northeastern Argolis, in the Peloponnese of southern Greece. Athens, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns are also important Mycenaean sites...

 era in 1200–1100 B.C., Greeks
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 practiced inhumation. Cremation appearing around the 12th century B.C. constitutes a new practice of burial and is probably an influence from Minor Asia. Until the Christian era, when the inhumation becomes again the only burial practice, both combustion and inhumation had been practiced depending on the era, and area. Romans practiced both, with cremation generally associated with military honors.

In Europe, there are traces of cremation dating to the Early Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 (c. 2000 B.C.) in the Pannonian Plain and along the middle Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

. The custom becomes dominant throughout Bronze Age Europe with the Urnfield culture
Urnfield culture
The Urnfield culture was a late Bronze Age culture of central Europe. The name comes from the custom of cremating the dead and placing their ashes in urns which were then buried in fields...

 (from ca. 1300 B.C.). In the Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

, inhumation becomes again more common, but cremation persisted in the Villanovan culture
Villanovan culture
The Villanovan culture was the earliest Iron Age culture of central and northern Italy, abruptly following the Bronze Age Terramare culture and giving way in the 7th century BC to an increasingly orientalizing culture influenced by Greek traders, which was followed without a severe break by the...

 and elsewhere. Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

's account of Patroclus
Patroclus
In Greek mythology, as recorded in the Iliad by Homer, Patroclus, or Patroklos , was the son of Menoetius, grandson of Actor, King of Opus, and was Achilles' beloved comrade and brother-in-arms....

' burial describes cremation with subsequent burial in a tumulus
Tumulus
A tumulus is a mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. Tumuli are also known as barrows, burial mounds, Hügelgrab or kurgans, and can be found throughout much of the world. A tumulus composed largely or entirely of stones is usually referred to as a cairn...

 similar to Urnfield burials, qualifying as the earliest description of cremation rites. This is mostly an anachronism, as during Mycenaean times burial was generally preferred, and Homer may have been reflecting more common use of cremation in the period in which the Iliad was written centuries later.

Criticism of burial rites is a common aspersion in competing religions and cultures, and one is the association of cremation with fire sacrifice or human sacrifice
Human sacrifice
Human sacrifice is the act of killing one or more human beings as part of a religious ritual . Its typology closely parallels the various practices of ritual slaughter of animals and of religious sacrifice in general. Human sacrifice has been practised in various cultures throughout history...

.

Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 and Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 are notable for not only allowing but prescribing cremation. Cremation in India is first attested in the Cemetery H culture
Cemetery H culture
The Cemetery H culture developed out of the northern part of the Indus Valley Civilization around 1900 BCE, in and around western Punjab region located in present-day India and Pakistan...

 (from ca. 1900 B.C.), considered the formative stage of Vedic civilization. The Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

 contains a reference to the emerging practice, in RV 10.15.14, where the forefathers "both cremated (agnidagdhá-) and uncremated (ánagnidagdha-)" are invoked.

Cremation remained common, but not universal, in both Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 and Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

. According to Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

, in Rome, inhumation was considered the more archaic rite, while the most honoured citizens were most typically cremated—especially upper classes and members of imperial families.

Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 frowned upon cremation, both influenced by the tenets of Judaism, and in an attempt to abolish Graeco-Roman pagan rituals. By the 5th century, the practice of cremation had practically disappeared from Europe.

In early Roman Britain
Roman Britain
Roman Britain was the part of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire from AD 43 until ca. AD 410.The Romans referred to the imperial province as Britannia, which eventually comprised all of the island of Great Britain south of the fluid frontier with Caledonia...

, cremation was usual but diminished by the fourth century. It then reappeared in the fifth and sixth centuries during the migration era, when sacrificed animals were sometimes included with the human bodies on the pyre, and the deceased were dressed in costume and with ornaments for the burning. That custom was also very widespread among the Germanic peoples of the northern continental lands from which the Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

 migrants are supposed to have been derived, during the same period. These ashes were usually thereafter deposited in a vessel of clay or bronze in an "urn cemetery." The custom again died out with the Christian conversion among the Anglo-Saxons or Early English during the seventh century, when inhumation of the corpse became general.

In the Middle Ages


Throughout parts of Europe, cremation was forbidden by law, and even punishable by death if combined with Heathen
Germanic paganism
Germanic paganism refers to the theology and religious practices of the Germanic peoples of north-western Europe from the Iron Age until their Christianization during the Medieval period...

 rites. Cremation was sometimes used by authorities as part of punishment for heretics, and this did not only include burning at the stake. For example, the body of John Wycliff was exhumed years after his death and cremated, with the ashes thrown in a river,
explicitly as a posthumous punishment for his denial of the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation
Transubstantiation
In Roman Catholic theology, transubstantiation means the change, in the Eucharist, of the substance of wheat bread and grape wine into the substance of the Body and Blood, respectively, of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses remains as before.The Eastern Orthodox...

.
On the other hand, mass cremations were often performed out of fear of contagious diseases, such as after a battle, pestilence, or famine. Retributory cremation continued into modern times. For example, after World War II, the bodies of the 12 men convicted of crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg Trials
Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany....

 were not returned to their families, but were instead cremated, then disposed of at a secret location as a specific part of a legal process intended to deny their use as a location for any sort of memorial.
In Japan, however, erection of a memorial building for many executed war criminals, who were also cremated, was allowed for their remains.

The modern era


In 1873, Padua
Padua
Padua is a city and comune in the Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Padua and the economic and communications hub of the area. Padua's population is 212,500 . The city is sometimes included, with Venice and Treviso, in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area, having...

n Professor Brunetti presented a cremation chamber at the Vienna Exposition. In Britain, the movement found the support of Queen Victoria's surgeon, Sir Henry Thompson
Sir Henry Thompson, 1st Baronet
Sir Henry Thompson, 1st Baronet FRCS , British surgeon and polymath, was born at Framlingham, Suffolk.-Medical career:...

, who together with colleagues founded the Cremation Society of Great Britain
Cremation Society of Great Britain
The Cremation Society of Great Britain is an special interest organisation that advocates cremation in the United Kingdom.-The beginnings:Cremation was not legal in Great Britain until 1885, but interest in this form of burial emerged during the second half of the 19th century from ideas that...

 in 1874. The first crematoria in Europe were built in 1878 in Woking
Woking
Woking is a large town and civil parish that shares its name with the surrounding local government district, located in the west of Surrey, UK. It is part of the Greater London Urban Area and the London commuter belt, with frequent trains and a journey time of 24 minutes to Waterloo station....

, England and Gotha
Gotha (town)
Gotha is a town in Thuringia, within the central core of Germany. It is the capital of the district of Gotha.- History :The town has existed at least since the 8th century, when it was mentioned in a document signed by Charlemagne as Villa Gotaha . Its importance derives from having been chosen in...

, Germany, the first in North America in 1876 by Dr. Francis Julius LeMoyne
Francis Julius LeMoyne
Francis Julius LeMoyne was a 19th-century American medical doctor and philanthropist from Washington, Pennsylvania...

 in Washington, Pennsylvania
Washington, Pennsylvania
Washington is a city in and the county seat of Washington County, Pennsylvania, United States, within the Pittsburgh Metro Area in the southwestern part of the state...

. The second cremation in the United States was that of Charles F. Winslow in Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Utah. The name of the city is often shortened to Salt Lake or SLC. With a population of 186,440 as of the 2010 Census, the city lies in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, which has a total population of 1,124,197...

 on July 31, 1877. The first cremation in Britain, that of Jeanette Pickersgill
Jeanette Pickersgill
In 1885 Jeanette Pickersgill became the first person to be officially cremated in the United Kingdom when she was cremated at Woking Crematorium in Woking, Surrey. The The Times described her as "a well-known figure in literary and scientific circles"...

, took place on 26 March 1885 at Woking Crematorium
Woking Crematorium
Woking Crematorium is a crematorium in Woking, a large town in the west of Surrey, England. Established in 1878, it was the first custom-built crematorium in the United Kingdom and is closely linked to the history of cremation in this country.-Location:...

.

Cremation was declared as legal in England and Wales when Dr. William Price
William Price (doctor)
William Price was a Welsh physician who achieved notoriety for his support of Welsh nationalism, Chartism and his involvement with the Neo-Druidic religious movement...

 was unsuccessfully prosecuted for cremating his son;
formal legislation followed later with the passing of the Cremation Act of 1902
Cremation Act 1902
The Cremation Act 1902 was an Act of Parliament of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, given the royal assent on 22 July 1902. The major purpose of the Act was to allow burial authorities to establish crematoria...

 (this Act did not extend to Ireland), which imposed procedural requirements before a cremation could occur and restricted the practice to authorised places.
In 1885 the first official cremation took place at Woking
Woking
Woking is a large town and civil parish that shares its name with the surrounding local government district, located in the west of Surrey, UK. It is part of the Greater London Urban Area and the London commuter belt, with frequent trains and a journey time of 24 minutes to Waterloo station....

. Ten cremations then took place in 1886. In 1892 a crematorium opened in Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

, followed by one in Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

 in 1895 and one in Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

 in 1896.

Some of the various Protestant churches came to accept cremation, with the rationale being, "God can resurrect a bowl of ashes just as conveniently as he can resurrect a bowl of dust." The 1908 Catholic Encyclopedia
Catholic Encyclopedia
The Catholic Encyclopedia, also referred to as the Old Catholic Encyclopedia and the Original Catholic Encyclopedia, is an English-language encyclopedia published in the United States. The first volume appeared in March 1907 and the last three volumes appeared in 1912, followed by a master index...

 was critical about these efforts, referring to them as a "sinister movement" and associating them with Freemasonry
Freemasonry
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...

, although it said that "there is nothing directly opposed to any dogma of the Church in the practice of cremation."
In 1963, Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul VI
Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

 lifted the ban on cremation,
and in 1966 allowed Catholic priests to officiate at cremation ceremonies.

Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 also started to establish modern cremation movements and societies. Australians had their first purpose-built modern crematorium and chapel in the West Terrace Cemetery
West Terrace Cemetery
The West Terrace Cemetery is South Australia’s oldest cemetery, first appearing on Colonel William Light’s 1837 plan of Adelaide. The 27.6 hectare site is located in the south-west corner of the Adelaide central business district, between West Terrace, Anzac Highway, Sir Donald Bradman Drive and...

 in the South Australia
South Australia
South Australia is a state of Australia in the southern central part of the country. It covers some of the most arid parts of the continent; with a total land area of , it is the fourth largest of Australia's six states and two territories.South Australia shares borders with all of the mainland...

n capital of Adelaide
Adelaide
Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia and the fifth-largest city in Australia. Adelaide has an estimated population of more than 1.2 million...

 in 1901. This small building, resembling the buildings at Woking
Woking
Woking is a large town and civil parish that shares its name with the surrounding local government district, located in the west of Surrey, UK. It is part of the Greater London Urban Area and the London commuter belt, with frequent trains and a journey time of 24 minutes to Waterloo station....

, remained largely unchanged from its 19th-century style and was in full operation until the late 1950s. The oldest operating crematorium in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 is at Rookwood Cemetery
Rookwood Cemetery
Rookwood Cemetery is the largest multicultural necropolis in the Southern Hemisphere, located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia...

, in Sydney
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

. It opened in 1925.

In the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, the foundation of the Association for Optional Cremation in 1874 ushered in a long debate about the merits and demerits of cremation. Laws against cremation were challenged and invalidated in 1915 (two years after the construction of the first crematorium in the Netherlands), though cremation did not become legally recognised until 1955.

New Technology


The technology in crematories has improved over the years. Dr. Steve Looker owner and CEO of B&L Cremation Systems Inc. invented a new system called the "Hot Hearth" in the early 1980s. This systems allows the hearth or the base of the machine to heat up from the hot gases running underneath the hearth. This allows the machine to maintain higher temperature which saves gas and reduces the impact on the environment. Dr. Looker also introduced many other new ideas to the cremation industry. He came up with the design for a separate remains removal door, located on the side of the unit. This enables the operator to push the remains to the rear of the chamber and remove the remains there. By doing this the heat loss is reduced in the machine and therefore saves energy. Crematories used to run on timers (some still do) and one would have to figure out the weight of the body, then figure out how long the body has to be cremated and then set multiple timers. Now there are crematories that are fully automated with PLC (Programmable logic controller
Programmable logic controller
A programmable logic controller or programmable controller is a digital computer used for automation of electromechanical processes, such as control of machinery on factory assembly lines, amusement rides, or light fixtures. PLCs are used in many industries and machines...

) touchscreens, where the weight and the name of the deceased have to be entered before a 'start'-button is pressed.

Negative experiences with cremation in recent history



World War II


In Nazi concentration camps
Nazi concentration camps
Nazi Germany maintained concentration camps throughout the territories it controlled. The first Nazi concentration camps set up in Germany were greatly expanded after the Reichstag fire of 1933, and were intended to hold political prisoners and opponents of the regime...

, the remains of dead inmates were disposed of using incineration in special built furnaces supplied by a number of manufacturers, with the most common being Topf and Sons
Topf and Sons
J.A. Topf and Sons was a German engineering company, which designed and built the incineration furnaces used by the Nazis at concentration and extermination camps during the Holocaust; including Auschwitz-Birkenau, Buchenwald, Belzec, Dachau, Mauthausen and Gusen...

. This method was considered deeply offensive in Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

, because Halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

, the Jewish law, forbids cremation and additionally holds that it is painful to the soul of a cremated person. This is because the soul of a recently dead person is not fully aware that they died, and they experience seeing their body burnt (this is also one of the reasons autopsies are forbidden under normal circumstances). In a normal burial, as the body decays, slowly the soul moves "farther" from it. Since then, cremation has carried an extremely negative connotation for many Jews.

The Tri-State Crematory Incident



In early 2002, 334 corpses that were supposed to have been cremated in the previous few years at the Tri-State Crematory were found intact and decaying on the crematorium's grounds in the U.S. state of Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

, having been dumped there by the crematorium's proprietor. Many of the corpses were decayed beyond identification. Some families received "ashes" that were made of wood and concrete dust.

Operator Ray Brent Marsh had 787 criminal charges filed against him. On November 19, 2004, Marsh pleaded guilty to all charges. Marsh was sentenced to two 12-year prison sentences, one each from Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 and Tennessee, to be served concurrently; he was also sentenced to probation for 75 years following his incarceration.

Civil suits were filed against the Marsh family as well as a number of funeral homes who shipped bodies to Tri-State; these suits were ultimately settled. The property of the Marsh family has been sold, but collection of the full $80-million judgment remains doubtful. Families have expressed the desire to return the former Tri-State crematory to a natural, parklike setting.

The Indian Ocean tsunamis


The magnitude
Moment magnitude scale
The moment magnitude scale is used by seismologists to measure the size of earthquakes in terms of the energy released. The magnitude is based on the seismic moment of the earthquake, which is equal to the rigidity of the Earth multiplied by the average amount of slip on the fault and the size of...

 9.0–9.3 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake
2004 Indian Ocean earthquake
The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea megathrust earthquake that occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on Sunday, December 26, 2004, with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The quake itself is known by the scientific community as the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake...

 triggered a series of lethal tsunamis on December 26, 2004 that killed almost 300,000 people, making them the deadliest tsunamis in recorded history. The tsunamis killed people over an area ranging from the immediate vicinity of the quake in Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

, and the northwestern coast of Malaysia, to thousands of kilometers away in Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

, the Maldives
Maldives
The Maldives , , officially Republic of Maldives , also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls oriented north-south off India's Lakshadweep islands, between Minicoy Island and...

, and even as far as Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

, Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

, and Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

 in eastern Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

.

Authorities had difficulties dealing with the large numbers of bodies, and as a result, thousands of bodies were cremated together out of fear that decaying bodies would cause disease. Many of these bodies were not identified or viewed by relatives prior to cremation. A particular point of objection was that the bodies of Westerners were kept separate from those of Asian
Asian people
Asian people or Asiatic people is a term with multiple meanings that refers to people who descend from a portion of Asia's population.- Central Asia :...

 descent, who were mostly locals. This meant that the bodies of tourists from other Asian nations, such as Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 and Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

, were mass cremated, rather than being returned to their country of origin for funeral rites.

Rates



The cremation rate varies considerably across countries with Japan reporting a 99% cremation rate while Poland reported a rate of 6.7% in 2008.

See also

  • Crematory
    Crematory
    A crematory is a machine in which cremation takes place. Crematories are usually found in funeral homes, cemeteries, or in stand-alone facilities. A facility which houses the actual cremator units is referred to as a crematorium.-History:Prior to the Industrial Revolution, any cremation which took...

  • Burial
    Burial
    Burial is the act of placing a person or object into the ground. This is accomplished by excavating a pit or trench, placing an object in it, and covering it over.-History:...

  • Burial at sea
    Burial at sea
    Burial at sea describes the procedure of disposing of human remains in the ocean, normally from a ship or boat. It is regularly performed by navies, but also can be done by private citizens in many countries.-By religion:...

  • Burial in space
    Space burial
    Space burial is a burial procedure in which a small sample of the cremated ashes of the deceased are placed in a capsule the size of a tube of lipstick and are launched into space using a rocket...

  • Funeral pyre
    Pyre
    A pyre , also known as a funeral pyre, is a structure, usually made of wood, for burning a body as part of a funeral rite...

  • Death
    Death
    Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

  • Funeral
    Funeral
    A funeral is a ceremony for celebrating, sanctifying, or remembering the life of a person who has died. Funerary customs comprise the complex of beliefs and practices used by a culture to remember the dead, from interment itself, to various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in their honor...

  • A holocaust
    Holocaust (sacrifice)
    A holocaust is a religious animal sacrifice that is completely consumed by fire. The word derives from the Ancient Greek holocaustos , which is used solely for one of the major forms of sacrifice....

     is a religious sacrifice that is completely consumed by fire.
  • Immolation (disambiguation)
  • Resomation
    Resomation
    Alkaline hydrolysis is a process for the disposal of human remains, which its creator states is more ecologically favorable than cremation. The process is being marketed worldwide as an alternative to the traditional options of burial or cremation...

  • Promession
  • Sati
    Sati (practice)
    For other uses, see Sati .Satī was a religious funeral practice among some Indian communities in which a recently widowed woman either voluntarily or by use of force and coercion would have immolated herself on her husband’s funeral pyre...

     (also suttee) was a Hindu funeral custom in which the dead man's widow used to immolate herself on her husband’s funeral pyre.
  • Tissue digestion
    Tissue Digestion
    Tissue digestion is a method of disposing bodies. The scientific term is "alkaline hydrolysis". It is used at several universities for the remains of animal cadavers as well as for human remains. In mortuary usage, the process is called "water reduction" "resomation" or "aquamation".-Methods:The...

  • Dr. William Price
    William Price (doctor)
    William Price was a Welsh physician who achieved notoriety for his support of Welsh nationalism, Chartism and his involvement with the Neo-Druidic religious movement...

     the eccentric Welsh
    Wales
    Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

     physician whose prosecution confirmed the legality of cremation in England and Wales
    England and Wales
    England and Wales is a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. It consists of England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom...

    .
  • Jeanette Pickersgill
    Jeanette Pickersgill
    In 1885 Jeanette Pickersgill became the first person to be officially cremated in the United Kingdom when she was cremated at Woking Crematorium in Woking, Surrey. The The Times described her as "a well-known figure in literary and scientific circles"...

    the first person officially cremated in the United Kingdom (in 1885)

External links