Interment of Ashes

The interment of ashes is a service that takes place once the cremation is over. During the interment of ashes ceremony, the ashes are collected and buried in a permanent location. Family and friends gather at the site of burial on the day of interment. The burial rites can be performed by a religious head, funeral director, relative, or any individual who was close to the deceased. Eulogies, prayers, and poems are customarily read in the interment service. The ruling on the scattering of ashes differs based on religion.

What is an Interment of Ashes?

Ashes can be interred in different ways that vary based on certain factors. They could be interred as per the deceased person’s wish in a cemetery, park, or any other specified place. Alternatively, the ashes of the loved one are stored at home by the family for remembrance. Sometimes, a memorial is made at the interment plot to honour the deceased. Cremation urns can be stored in a columbarium, which can accommodate the ashes of a large group of people. A columbarium is similar to a mausoleum; however, it is designed for storing urns instead of storing bodies. 

Choosing Cremation over Traditional Burial

It has been evident from exhumed bodies that decomposition process in the case of conventional burials takes several years, sometimes even a few decades. Whereas, in the case of cremation, the process barely takes a few hours before the body is reduced to ashes.

Ashes can be conveniently taken anywhere inside a cremation urn rather than a coffin. Ashes interment takes up lesser space in a cemetery or a graveyard when compared with a traditional burial, so it will be cheaper.

Once a body is cremated to ashes, it still has to be interred, stored or scattered. The funeral service for the deceased can either be held before or after the cremation. Planning makes cremation easier, especially when the person is alive. By circulating a set of written instructions with family, one can determine how the cremation will take place.

Planning a cremation service would save money and ease arrangements. Moreover, family and friends of the departed would be able to bid a final farewell without worrying about arrangements.

The Cremation

The place in which the dead are cremated is known as a crematorium. Bodies are cremated in the cremation chamber, an exclusively designed furnace that generates intense heat through open flames. Crematoriums identify the body and proceed once they’re permitted by the concerned person or family member.

Cleaning of the body is done before the identification. Items such as jewellery, prosthetics, and medical devices are removed so that the cremation process can go smoothly.

The body is placed in a coffin or a casket before it is sent to the cremation chamber. It takes a few hours for the body to reduce to ashes in the cremation chamber. Once the ashes are obtained, remaining metals are separated from it. The ashes are ground in a special processor after all foreign elements have been removed. They are then stored in a container or an urn and handed over to the family or custodian.

Top 5 Options for the Interment of Ashes

The ashes of a loved one can be interred in several ways. However, the option for ashes interment can vary based on religion. For instance, storing ashes at home, scattering of ashes, using ashes in jewellery, and other items is not permitted by the Catholic Church.

However, there are guidelines set by the Catholic Church for the interment of ashes that should be followed. Many religions allow cremation followed by the interment of ashes such as Anglicanism, Baptist Church, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Methodism, and Sikhism, to name a few. The top 5 options for the interment of ashes have been listed below.

Columbarium

A columbarium is a place where cremation urns can be stored, which could be a building, room, or a wall. It is similar to a mausoleum where non-cremated remains are stored permanently. In a columbarium, there are single compartments known as columbaria niches or cremation niches where the individual cremated remains are stored. The slots could either be indoors or outdoors. Columbaria niches display cremation urns through clear glass panels or could be placed behind a metal plate.

These niches come in different sizes and styles, which determine their prices. A columbarium can be located in a cemetery, church, funeral home, outdoor memorial, or indoor crypt. The advantage of a columbarium over a conventional interment ground is that it is more economical, takes up less space, and involves lower maintenance. Moreover, this vertical form of ashes interment option is environmentally friendly as toxic embalming chemicals are not interred in the ground.

Cemetery

A burial plot application form has to be signed for the interment of ashes in a cemetery or graveyard. This is issued by the cemetery or local council. This has to be done because ashes interred in a churchyard, graveyard or cemetery necessitate a burial plot. There are some individuals whose ashes can be interred in their family-owned burial plots. However, those who don’t an existing plot will have to buy their interment space. Private spaces are allocated for the interment of ashes by cemeteries and graveyards. The right of burial lease can be purchased for 25 years or 50 years, which you can renew every five years up to 75 years and sometimes even 100 years.

Ashes interred in graves are similar to coffins interred and sometimes have small headstones as well. It is possible to inter an individual’s ashes along with other family members’ ashes in the same burial plot as it takes up lesser space when compared with a traditional burial plot. Specific guidelines have to be followed for ashes interment, which varies based on the cemetery. The interment of ashes service can be arranged with a funeral director or the cemetery staff. The date of interment can be scheduled, which is when the cemetery staff would inter the ashes. The interment service of the deceased person can be done on behalf of the family without their presence.

Memorial Garden

Memorial gardens are also known as scattering gardens, cremation gardens, and urn gardens. These gardens are mainly designed for the interment of ashes, which are sometimes located within the church premises. Memorial gardens can be easily built within cities as they take up less space when compared with traditional graveyards.

Moreover, the practice of interring bodies in cemeteries within city limits is not permitted by the zoning laws. The selection of a monument can vary based on the garden landscape, religion, and preference.

In particular cremation gardens, burial plots can be purchased, and some even allow interment of multiple persons’ ashes in one plot. Some memorial gardens encourage the use of biodegradable urns since they are environmentally safe.

The purchase and erection of the memorial, as well as garden maintenance, is often included in the interment costs. In many memorial gardens, ashes can be interred in the landscape itself. The budget for this type of interment is less as it does not require the purchase of a plot.

Privately Owned Land

Cremated ashes can be legally interred on private land only when it is permitted by the landowner. It is best to get a written document granting permission for the interment of ashes. Many people would find it apt to bury the ashes of their loved ones on their plots.

However, when they would sell their property in the future, then they can visit the interment spot only if the new owner permits them.

The arrangements for the burial of ashes have to be done by the family. The interment of the ashes ceremony should be planned according to the budget.

A funeral director could be hired for the arrangement of the interment ceremony based on the family’s budget of the family. A monument can be positioned near the interment spot to pay tribute to the deceased individual. Necessary paperwork must be in order, such as a cremation certificate, and right of burial lease.

Woodland

Woodland burial sites are an environmentally friendly option for the intermittent of ashes. They are also known as natural burial grounds. In many natural burial grounds, embalming is not permitted as chemicals involved are harmful to the soil.

The use of biodegradable urns for the interment of ashes is enforced in these sites similar to biodegradable caskets in common burial grounds. The graves in natural burial grounds cannot be marked with gravestones; instead, flowers or trees are used for identification.

How much does a woodland burial cost?

Some woodland burial sites have maps that help people in locating the interment site of their loved ones. Natural burial grounds look similar to forests, which cannot be easily recognised like traditional graveyards.

Ashes interred in a woodland burial site blends with the surroundings as a memorial or a headstone does not mark it. The budget for the interment service varies from one woodland burial site to another. Furthermore, the type of tree that would be planted would also add to the overall cost.

Alternatives to Interring the Ashes

The cost for the interment of ashes has increased significantly over the years. Different expenses have to be accounted for other than the price for the interment plot, headstone, flowers, and the ceremonial service. These expenses include the unsettled bills of the deceased such as medical bills and debts. Nevertheless, these bills could be settled by the individual themselves in advance with funeral insurance. Some people opt for alternatives due to the cost factor, whereas some opt due to preference. A few other options to interring the ashes have been listed below.

Scattering Ashes to the Wind

Scattering ashes are also known as casting is the dispersion of ashes into the wind. The advantage of scattering is that it can be done anywhere. However, it should be appropriately planned; otherwise, some of the ashes could settle on the ground. The ashes should be scattered downwind to become airborne. On the other hand, people attending the ceremony should stand upwind to prevent ashes from blowing towards them.

Scattering Ashes over Water

Alternatively, scattering of ashes can be done over water as well. It could be done over water bodies such as ponds, lakes, rivers, seas, or ocean. The scattering ceremony is done on a boat in case it is a large water body. Similar to casting, the ashes must be tossed in the direction of the wind away from the ship and the attendees. The cremated ashes could also be scattered in a water-soluble scattering urn.

Memorial Jewellery

Ashes of loved ones can be kept close in the form of diamond jewellery. Cremated ashes can be transformed into diamonds through a process similar to the one that occurs in nature. It is possible to make diamonds from ashes because of their carbon content. Cremation diamonds are also known as eternal diamonds and memorial diamonds. The making charges for cremation diamonds depends upon the carat size and colour. These diamonds can be fused with different kinds of jewellery sets.

Cremation Urns

Cremation urns are containers designed to store ashes. The remains can be interred in numerous ways; however, choosing the right vessel can make a difference in the long run. They type of urn that will be used after the memorial service depends on whether the ashes are interred, scattered, or placed in a columbarium niche. Containers vary based on material, design, size, and weight.

Urns that would be permanently placed in columbarium niches must be made from durable materials such as aluminium, steel, bronze, wood, granite, or marble. These types of urns retain their structural integrity and secure the ashes. Ashes interred in cemeteries, memorial gardens, and woodland burial sites should be placed inside an= biodegradable urn. Urns made from bamboo, corn starch, wood, and coconut shell decompose over time without harming the environment. Water-soluble containers made from natural materials are ideal for scattering ashes over water.

Cost of Interring Cremation Ashes

The cost to inter cremated ashes would depend upon various factors such as the preference of the deceased’s family, burial plot, urn, and headstone. The cost of purchasing a burial plot on lease varies based on the cemetery, columbarium, natural burial ground, or memorial garden. However, plots for interring ashes are a lot cheaper than traditional plots where bodies are interred.

The type of urn that would be bought for storing the cremated ashes also adds to the overall cost. Cremation urns made of durable materials that come along with patterns are ideal for columbium niches and hence cost more.

A fee would be charged by the cemetery management for opening the grave, followed by the interment of ashes. Furthermore, there would be maintenance charges for the interment plot. The type of memorial, such as an epitaph inscribed on a gravestone, will add to the interment cost.

The budget can be significantly reduced by interring ashes of the loved one in an existing family grave. The remaining expenses would depend upon the grandeur of the ceremony. These would include the fee of the funeral director, priest or choir, cost of flowers, statues, and other grave ornaments.

In direct cremation, the ashes of the deceased are immediately interred after cremation without organising any funeral service. This is considered to be one of the most economical options for cremation.

The cremation certificate, along with the transportation of the ashes to the cemetery, can be arranged by the crematorium for a small fee. The family of the deceased can provide the crematorium with an urn of their choice. The crematorium will generally send the ashes in a container if an urn is not provided.

Many funeral homes and cemeteries would charge lesser for direction cremation. The family and friends of the deceased can organise a funeral service at a later date as per their convenience.

Planning the Interment of Ashes Ceremony

The deceased’s family and friends gather at the burial plot during the interment ceremony, which is led by a funeral director, religious leader, or a humanist. The cremated remains, along with necessary paperwork, are delivered to the interment site in advance.

Before the service begins, mourners are allowed to view the cremated ashes kept in the urn. At times, mementoes are placed in columbarium niches, while markers are placed on the outside. The interment service then begins with a prayer or a few introductory words, which is usually done by a religious leader or a funeral director.

Additionally, people close to the deceased such as family and friends, share eulogies and quote certain things liked by the loved one. Prayers, sacred passages, religious hymns, songs, and poems can also be a part of the interment of ashes ceremony.

A visual tribute can be given though videos or pictures when the service is conducted indoors. Pigeons, butterflies, or sky lanterns can be released when the interment service is held outdoors. The interment ceremony comes to an end with a few final words by the funeral director or the priest. A proper ashes interment ceremony helps you grieve properly and find closure for the loss of your loved one.