In days long gone, cremating a body involved a very specific ritual. The ritual may require the dramatic release of fiery arrows to the ship carrying the dead loved one. It may well be a bonfire under the stars in which the body of the beloved departed is made to burn to ashes.
These days, however, cremation is a less dramatic but more efficient process of setting the deceased’s body to burn at high temperatures until all that are left are brittle, calcified bones. Those bones are then pulverized to constitute the ashes that people expect to receive after the process.
The Resurgence of the Practice
Cremation is obviously not a new discovery. Older civilizations have chosen it as a means of burying their dead. As of late, there is a resurgence of the practice partly due to the fact that people are no longer constrained by cultural taboos. It is not the mere stripping of taboos and fears that have raised the demand for the method these days, however. Some have selected it over traditional burials because of the convenience and lower cost that it demands. Yet others turn to this practice because of the ultimate promise of cleansing that fire provides, especially if the dead loved one has suffered from disease or an accident that had rendered the body too mangled to present in a coffin.
The Cremation Process
The dead body to be cremated is placed in a casket. This casket is a lot cheaper and is made of a flammable material, such as pine, plywood, or even mere cardboard. The process may only start after a medical examiner provided his go-signal that the body will no longer need to undergo medical investigations. The whole process, after all, is a point of no return. Further investigations can no longer be performed on the ashes, which really resembled fine gravel instead of the expected powdery material, after the process has been performed.
The body is placed inside an incinerator that can fire up temperatures up to 2000 Fahrenheit. The incinerator can only accommodate one body at a time and sort of resemble a large version of a pizza oven. The high density material from which the incinerator is made of ensures that heat is retained and sustained inside it. The column of flame released from the incinerator specifically targets the torso.
While the body is being burned at extremely high temperatures, family members can peek through a window. They do not really get to see the skin blister and split away from the bones or the muscle charring because it is placed inside a casket. In some cultures, the family members are the ones expected to turn on the switch that begins the cremation.
After everything is done
After the cremation process, the remaining calcified bones are pulverized into a fine gravel consistency. The family can choose to contain these rough remains in a special urn or simply scatter the ashes into the sea or on woodland grounds. This is where it is important that they follow the wishes of their dead. Some families do prefer keeping the urn of ashes so that they can somehow bring along whatever physical remains their loved ones have with them.
Others have the remains placed in a columbarium where they can always come to visit. Entombing the remains in a regular crypt or a mausoleum is still an option for cremated remains.
Cremating the deceased body is not as simple as just putting it on fire or not quite as dramatic as using a bow and arrow. However, it is an efficient and cleansing process that also provides the remains to family and friends.