The Role of Urns in Funerals

February 24, 2016

Cremation Urns are containers meant to hold cremated remains of the deceased. It is not mandatory to purchase a cremation urn, because the ashes can be kept in a temporary container or even a plastic bag. But an urn is suggested if you are intending to place the remains in a niche at a cemetery where others have been placed too.

In a country like South Africa, it has been estimated that more people are dying, and at younger ages.

Another estimate reveals that the City of Johannesburg is going to need 1500 hectares for burial grounds soon – within the next 50 years. Because of this, families are being advised to investigate different burial alternatives.

Cremation is one of these alternatives. South Africa has many different cultural groups, and cremation remains a normal method for the Sikhs, Hindus, Parsees and Buddhists.  It is not allowed by groups like the Orthodox Jews and Moslems, while most Christian denominations do allow cremations.

 

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Choose where your urn will be placed

The Role of Urns in FuneralsEven though the law does not require that urns be used for the ashes, an urn is desired for keeping your loved one’s remains in a beautiful container. If you keep the urn at home, you are keeping your loved one’s close by.  Urns can be made from wood, ceramic, brass or glass. They come in a wide variety of sizes and they can also be biodegradable. These are environmentally friendly, being made from materials like plant fibres, natural clays, recycled paper, etc.

Symbolic Urns which Float and then Slowly Sink

Some people like to make their cremation urns water-soluble, allowing them to  float in water. Some of these are made to float for a certain amount of time and then slowly sink. This signifies the passing away of the loved one in a lovely and dignified way.

Although the cremated remains of people are referred to as ashes, they actually have quite a different texture to ashes. This is because when the body is burned, it consists of bone fragments and dust. All the shards and pieces are then further pulverised into a very fine powder which ends up almost white in colour, resembling fine gravel.

Often the cremated remains will weigh around 3 to 7 pounds, but obviously this depends on the size of the corpse. Usually a cremation urn for an adult will measure about 175-300 cubic inches. For young children there will be a lower capacity. You can get even get double- or companion urns which have the capacity to hold the cremated ashes of two people. Urns can be placed in a niche within a columbarium.

Urns – Sacred Vessels

You can put other personal items into the turn – things like wallets, letters, cards, photos, rings, etc. Many people opt for a cremation because of all of the freedom that goes along with the process.

When selecting an urn for a loved one’s ashes, the important thing is not rush into any hasty decisions. Buying a cremation urn is one of the last acts of love you can do for your loved one, and that urn holds the last physical earthly remains in a sacred vessel.

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All info was correct at time of publishing