“Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust” – it is an inescapable truth that one’s body returns to nature after death. Commonly, there are two ways it is done: burial and cremation. While some religions strongly prefer one method over the other, many people may find themselves in a dilemma.
In this article, we shine the spotlight on cremation, what it is, and some considerations to make when picking cremation as a body disposal method of choice. If you know a little bit about the burial method, you can then make a fair comparison to inform your choice.
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What is cremation, and how does it work?
Cremation is a disposal method for the remains of a deceased person, where the body is subjected to intense heat in a closed furnace. Temperatures of about 800-1000°C for about 2 hours are generally required to completely cremate a body.
What remains after cremation are ashes (or actually bone fragments), and some trace materials like metals (for example, from dental implants, parts of the coffin, and so on). Typically, the ashes are then filtered to remove the metal substances, leaving only the greyish, coarse ash.
Why do people choose cremation?
Cremation may be the preferred disposal method for a few reasons. Firstly, many religions accept cremation, and some advocate for it. For example, Hindus strongly prefer cremation, while some Buddhists choose cremation after the Buddhist funeral because Buddha himself was said to have been cremated.
Another big reason why people choose cremation is because of space constraints. Arguably, this is also linked to cost. Given that Singapore is particularly land-scarce, burial is more expensive. Cremation takes up less space, as it just requires an urn and niche, whereby families can even take the ashes home.
What happens to the ashes after cremation?
The most common approach for ashes is probably to store them in an urn before placing it into a niche at a columbarium. Some families may also choose to bring the ashes home in the urn to place at their own family altar.
However, there are also alternatives like sea burial or burial of the remains in the ground. These days, there are also unorthodox alternative services that allow you to turn the ashes of your loved one into a gemstone, vinyl record, and more.
How much does a cremation cost?
Cremation is a cheaper affair than burial in Singapore, as land space is highly limited for burials. You can choose to have it done at a government crematorium or private one, though you should expect the costs to be higher at a private one. According to the National Environment Agency, below are the costs for burial and cremation:
- Burial (for religions other than Muslim, Jewish, Parsi, or Bahai): $940
- Cremation (government): $100
- Cremation (private): $300-500
Do also note that you still have to set aside funds for the urn and niche if you wish to store the ashes in the columbarium. Fees vary across different columbaria, with government and privately-managed ones available as well.
If you opt for other methods of processing the ashes, additional costs will apply as well.
Cremation has become the more popular choice amongst people, and for pretty good reasons. Now that you know a little more about cremation, you can make the right choice when the time comes for you to make one.
Whether you choose burial or cremation, it remains important to choose a funeral company that can settle all the funeral services for you in an efficient, respectable, and cost-effective manner. Only then, can you have a truly dignified send-off for your loved one.