Cremation is the process of burning, evaporating, and oxidizing a dead body to obtain substances such as gases, ash, and mineral fragments.
Cremation ashes are not harmful to health and the environment. After cremation, the ashes are collected and used for different purposes. There are families that decide to bury the ashes in cemeteries while many others keep them in memorial sites. Some may disperse or scatter at river or sea.
A Brief History of Cremation
According to archaeological records, the first form of cremation started at least 20,000 years ago when part of the body of a woman named Mungo Lady was cremated when surveying Lake Mungo in Australia. In the Middle East and Europe, cremation remains of many tribes dating back to the Neolithic period (from 6000 to 4000 BC) were also found.
Although in history burial was likely to be the most common form of funeral, and the fact is that cremation was banned in some periods, cremation has become more and more popular over time.
Cremation in Different Countries
In The United States and Most Countries
In the U.S. and most countries, it is required to place the dead body in a specially designed casket or a rigid container. Families can either purchase or rent the container.
With the option of rental, linings are placed into the casket and replaced after each use. Another option is to use a cardboard box instead of linings for hygiene purposes.
In Some European Countries
The British and German rule states that the dead body must be placed in a flammable coffin – a container or rental is not accepted. Opening the coffin once it has been transferred to the crematorium is not allowed, and the body must be cremated within 72 hours.
In Some Other Countries
It is the common norm that cremation usually occurs in crematoriums. However, in Nepal and India, there are other forms of cremation such as open-air cremation, where the process happens outdoors.
Cremation Techniques & Technology
Unlike the method of burning with fire/coal or oil in some specific cultures such as India, most countries apply the cremation practice of using modern crematory chambers where the process is automated.
To be more specific, the process controls and monitors itself. The time is set based on the body weight, and usually, it takes one hour to cremate a 110 lb body. Only one body is cremated at a time.
The cremation chamber is built and layered with heat-resistant bricks. The outer layer is an insulation bricklayer, which is made of calcium silicate.
Large crematoriums are usually designed with double insolating brick layers. These layers are exposed to high temperatures and must be replaced periodically over time (usually every 4-5 years). In order to prevent heat loss, the casket is brought into the cremation chamber as quickly as possible.
Cremation is currently considered a more beneficial funeral service than traditional burial because of its environmental friendliness and affordability. Governments in many countries require cremation facilities to meet certain standards relating to the environment and waste treatment. Process and technology also change gradually over time, which reduces fossil fuel consumption. As a result, cremation is becoming increasingly popular these days.
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