The terminology associated with cremations in Greenbelt, MD is important to know to gain insight into the cremation process. Many people know about cremation, but they don’t understand what’s involved and what to expect when cremations are the funeral option that’s chosen. We’ll give you a basic guide to cremation terms.
Cremation is the process of exposing human remains to intense heat for a period of time to decompose the body down to bone fragments. All metal has to be removed during this process, so the casket itself contains no metal and glasses, watches, and devices like pacemakers are removed before the cremation starts.
A crematorium is the structure where the cremation chamber is housed. These structures may be solely devoted to cremations and funerals or they may offer cremation and funeral services in addition to other types of services that are not funeral-related.
Cremation chambers are small enclosures that are designed to withstand very high heat and temperatures. They are most often lined with brick or tile. This is where the actual cremation takes place.
A cremation container is the enclosure that the body is cremated in. It can be a fully-combustible casket or a heavy-duty cardboard box. It must be rigid, so it can be easily handled and large enough to fully enclose the body.
Memorialization refers to how the cremains are handled after the cremation. Cremains are given to the family when the cremation is done, and the family can decide what to do with them. Common options are burying them with previously-deceased family members (usually spouses), scattering them in a special place, storing them in an urn in a columbarium, keeping them in a decorative urn at home, or turning some of the cremains into wearable jewelry.
An urn is the traditional receptacle for cremains. The history of the use of urns to hold the remains of loved ones goes back as far as the Roman Empire. Urns can be made out of a variety of materials, including wood, glass, and clay, among others. Urns are also high-customizable and many unique and creative options are available.
Cremation boxes are what the crematorium uses to present the cremains to the family if they have not yet chosen a memorialization option, such as an urn or storage in a columbarium.
A columbarium is a space specifically designed and built to hold cremains. Columbariums have niches where the cremains, in an urn or cremation box, can be placed. A grave marker or gravestone is added to mark the final resting place of a loved ones cremains.
Scattering gardens are common space outdoor areas that are specifically designated for scattering cremains. The cremains are mixed in with the existing soil. While most scattering gardens are public common spaces, some cemeteries are starting to add them as a place for families to scatter the cremains of their loved ones.
An interment is the act of putting cremains in a permanent container, such as an urn. The container can then be housed in a mausoleum, a columbarium, or it can be displayed at the family’s home.
Cremains are the cremated remains of the deceased. These are not ashes, as is commonly assumed, but instead bone fragments – which are all that is left after cremation – ground finely into a powder-like consistency.
A direct cremation is a type of cremation where the body is cremated immediately after death occurs. The body is not embalmed, nor are there viewings, visitations, or funeral services. Often, memorial services are held at a much later date.
If you’d like to know more about terminology related to cremations in Greenbelt, MD, you can talk with our knowledgeable team at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A. You can visit our funeral home at 4400 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD, 20705, or you can call us today at (301) 937-1707.