What is the cremation process?

Cremation is the process of reducing a deceased human body to its basic elements through heat and flame. This practice has become more prevalent in recent years, with more people opting for cremation over traditional burial. In this article, we will explore the cremation process in detail, including its history, preparation, the actual process, environmental concerns, religious and cultural perspectives, and cost.

Preparation for Cremation

Before the actual cremation process takes place, there are several steps that need to be taken to prepare the deceased for cremation. This includes documentation and identification of the deceased, removal of medical devices and jewelry, clothing of the deceased, and placement of the deceased in the cremation container.

Documentation and identification of the deceased are necessary to ensure that the correct body is being cremated. Medical devices and jewelry are removed to prevent damage to the cremation equipment and to avoid any potential safety hazards. The deceased is then clothed in a simple garment, which is typically made of natural fibers.

Finally, the deceased is placed in a cremation container, which is a simple wooden box or an alternative container that meets the requirements of the crematory.

The Cremation Process

The actual cremation process begins by pre-heating the cremation chamber to a temperature between 1,600 to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. The cremation container is then placed into the chamber, and the process of cremation begins.

During the process, the temperature is gradually increased to between 1,800 to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which causes the body to break down and reduce its basic elements. This process typically takes between two to three hours, depending on the size of the body and the equipment being used.

After the cremation process is complete, the remains are allowed to cool before they are processed. The processing involves removing any non-combustible materials, such as metal implants, and grinding the remaining bone fragments to a fine powder.

After the Cremation Process

After the processing is complete, the remains are placed in an urn or another container and returned to the family. The final disposition of the remains can be burial, scattering, or entombment, depending on the wishes of the family.

Environmental Concerns

While cremation is generally considered to be more eco-friendly than traditional burial, it still has some environmental concerns. One of the main issues is air pollution, as the process of cremation releases harmful pollutants into the air.

Another environmental concern is the release of mercury emissions, which can occur when dental amalgams are not removed from the deceased prior to cremation. However, many crematories now use mercury abatement systems to prevent the release of harmful emissions.

There are also more eco-friendly alternatives available, such as water cremation, which uses water and an alkali solution to break down the body, leaving only bone fragments. This process is said to be more eco-friendly than traditional cremation as it doesn’t produce the same amount of harmful pollutants.

Religious and Cultural Perspectives

Cremation is viewed differently across various religions and cultures. In Hinduism, for example, cremation is considered to be the most important ritual for the deceased, as it allows their soul to be released from the body and continue on its journey.

In contrast, in Judaism and Islam, cremation is generally not accepted as it goes against traditional burial practices. Many other religions and cultures have their own beliefs and practices surrounding death and the final disposition of the body.

Cost of Cremation

The cost of cremation varies depending on a variety of factors, such as the location, the crematory, and any additional services. However, in general, cremation is often less expensive than traditional burial.

Some of the factors that can affect the cost of cremation include the type of urn or container chosen, any additional services such as memorial services, and whether the family wants to witness the cremation process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What happens to medical devices and implants during cremation?

These are typically removed prior to the cremation process and disposed of separately.

How long does the cremation process take?

The process typically takes between two to three hours.

Can multiple bodies be cremated at the same time?

Most crematories only cremate one body at a time to prevent mix-ups.

Is it possible to witness the cremation process?

Some crematories offer this option, but it’s not always available or recommended.

What options are available for the final disposition of the remains?

The remains can be buried, scattered, or entombed, depending on the wishes of the family.


In conclusion, cremation is a process of reducing a deceased human body to its basic elements through heat and flame. The preparation process involves several steps to ensure the proper identification of the deceased and safety during the cremation process. The actual cremation process takes between two to three hours and the remains are processed before being returned to the family. While cremation is generally more eco-friendly than traditional burial, there are still some environmental concerns to consider. Additionally, cremation is viewed differently across various religions and cultures, and the cost can vary depending on various factors.

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