Cremations are among the cremation services offered in Greenbelt, MD, but many people don’t exactly know what happens during cremations. A good overview of the cremation process will highlight the steps involved.
With cremations becoming an increasingly popular choice among Americans to dispose of remains instead of the traditional underground burial, it’s important first to understand why. There are many reasons. One interesting historical event, the Great Recession of 2008, is a big contributor to the rapid rise of cremations instead of underground burial. Additionally, cremations have a much smaller impact on the environment and they take up less space than a traditional gravesite.
The practice of cremating the dead has been around almost as long as humans have existed on earth. In the ancient Greek and Roman cultures, cremations were held as events that honored brave, famous, or heroic people. Armies who were fighting in foreign lands cremated their fallen soldiers, then took the cremation remains (cremains) back home to bury in their native lands.
Until Christianity was adopted under Constantine as the official Roman religion, the majority of people were cremated when they died. However, because Constantine wanted to distinguish Christianity from pagan practices, many of which worshipped their gods by burning people alive, the practice of cremation was replaced by underground burial.
That tradition remained intact in the Western world until religions essentially lifted the taboo on cremations, giving people the choice of the type of final disposition they wanted.
There are some interesting things about cremations that many people don’t know.
Cremation containers don’t actually contain ashes. The remains of cremations – all that’s left after the cremation process – are bones. These are pulverized to the consistency of sand and returned to the family.
Only one body is cremated at a time in a cremation unit. Cremation units, which perform the cremation process, can hold only a single casket or container at a time.
Crematories are responsible for making sure the family gets the correct cremains. All crematories follow a standard procedure to make sure this happens. Each body is tagged with a flame-retardant tag as soon as it gets to the crematory. The family is required to identify the remains before cremation. The tag remains with the body throughout the cremation process and is attached to the container with the cremains that is given to the family.
Cremations generally take between two and three hours because of the intense heat sources applied that allows a body to burn that quickly.
Cremations are hot, with temperatures of 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit. The process and heat application makes sure all organic compounds in the remains are burned up.
Cremains of an adult can weigh between six and eight pounds, which is approximately the same weight as a small bowling ball.
Funeral services can be held for someone who is being cremated. Funeral homes routinely arrange funeral services for people who are being cremated. The funeral service can be held with or without the body of the deceased present.
Cremains can be buried in cemeteries. About 10% of cremains are buried underground in gravesites. Many cemeteries are now creating urn gardens, a landscaped section of land specifically designed for the burial of urns.
Cremains can be buried in back yards. However, just because it’s legal, you should check to see if there are any local ordinances governing the burial of cremains.
If you want more information about cremation services offered in Greenbelt, MD, you can talk with our expert staff at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A. You can drop by our funeral home at 4400 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD, 20705, or you can contact us today at (301) 937-1707.