No one likes to think about their own mortality. But, eventually, everyone has to. In fact, it is important to plan your basic funerary arrangements ahead of time. You don’t want your family to be scrambling around trying to take care of your final arrangements while they must also deal with the emotional toil of grieving your departure. You want to make the end of your life as easy on the ones you love as possible. To that end, more and more people are choosing cremation for themselves, rather than the traditional burial. It’s more affordable, and certainly easier on a logistical level. To learn more about cremation and whether it’s right for you, click here at the bottom of the page.
In humanity’s ancient days, when cremation was a far more popular funereal option than burial, the bodies of the departed were often placed on a large pyre, which was then set aflame. Today in the United States, cremation is typically done with a special oven known as a cremation chamber. A cremation chamber kind of looks like an industrial pizza oven. However, cremation chambers are made with a special type of fiber brick which is higher in density and can therefore retain heat much more effectively. The retention of heat is an absolute must, since modern cremation chambers use natural gas or propane. These fuels burn at very high temperatures, and it’s important to maintain as much of the heat as possible. The hotter an oven is, the more efficiently it will burn what is inside of it, leaving behind less smoke and less odor. Once the body has been prepared, it will be placed inside a combustible container made out of plywood, cardboard, or any other flammable material. Then, the cremation chamber is pre-heated until it reaches 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit. The doors to the cremation chamber are then opened and the container with the body inside is rolled into the primary chamber, also known as the retort. In the first chamber, the body will be burned with a column of flame that is aimed at the torso. The first retort will burn away most of the body within 2 or 3 hours, leaving only the calcified, flaky remains of the bones at the end.
A secondary chamber within the oven will then be ignited, so as to burn any particles or dust that might try and waft out of the oven. Some cremation chambers also include a device that sprays a mist of water in the secondary retort, which helps to trap these particles. Once the body is burned completely, funeral directors will use a wire-bristled brush to sweep the remaining ashes into a tray. The ashes may then be transferred to an urn or a special container and given to the bereaved.
When Christianity swept through Europe, cremation was seen as a pagan practice and was thus discouraged throughout the western world. Today, many people, even those who practice Christianity, have modified their views on cremation and prefer the process over the traditional burial. Cremation takes less space, is more ecologically efficient, and is seen by some as a more respectful funereal practice than burial since a body that is buried underground is just going to rot away. Most funeral homes offer cremation services as well as traditional burials.