The Cremation Process: 10 Common Questions And Answers

10 May, 2017

When it comes to the process of cremation, there are a questions and concerns and although in the UK cremation is very common, there are many people who still wonder what the process is.

According to some numbers, over 70% of the UK residents are cremated. And as common as this may sound, the cremation process is still a mystery and usually known as 'turning people to ashes' rather than fully understood.

In order to help you understand the process of cremation in the UK to its full extent, we are answering the 13 most common questions about this topic. So, let's begin.

1. What happens at the crematorium on the day of the funeral?

Simply put, the coffin is brought in and is followed by the mourners. It is afterwards placed on a platform known as catafalque, followed by a religious or secular service and the removal of the coffin. This process can take different forms - from lowering the coffin from sight to curtaining it, it is the final stage before the mourners leave the chapel.

2. Is a religious service necessary for cremation funerals?

It is not necessary to have a religious service when cremating your loved one. You can have a non-religious or no service at all if you choose. However, if you decide on a non or semi religious service, make sure to use the one of a Celebrant (a person who can conduct non-religious, semi-religious and spiritual ceremonies).

3. How long does the cremation service last?

Although the duration of the service may change according to plans, the general duration is about 45 minutes - time in which people enter the chapel, hold the service and leave. One cannot impact on the time of those coming before or after and talking to the funeral director is necessary if you need more time for your service (charges may apply).

4. What happens to the coffin after it is gone - committed to the ground?

The coffin is afterwards withdrawn into a committal room where its name plate is checked in order to ensure correct identity. As soon as this happens, it is labelled with a card that is prepared by the crematorium and one that stays with the body from that point until the final disposal of the cremation ashes.

5. Does the cremation take place immediately?

In most of the cases, it takes place right after the funeral. However, it may also be on the same day, only a few hours after the funeral.

6. Is the coffin cremated along with the body?

Yes - the coffin is cremated with the body and nothing can be removed from it after committal.

7. What happens to the objects that are not combustible (metal nails, jewellery etc.)?

All of the objects that are not combustible are removed by a magnet and buried at a depth in the crematorium or removed for recovery. This is why it is advised to not leave jewellery on the deceased as won't be part of the ashes that you will receive.

8. Can people witness the committal of the coffin to the cremator?

In most of the cases, it is the relatives and close friends who want to witness the committal. However, the number of people allowed is two to three at the most.

9. What happens to the remains after cremation?

The remains after the process of cremation are placed on a cooling tray, where the metals are removed and the ashes are reduced to fine white ash, known as bone ash.

10. How long does it take to get the ashes after the process of cremation is completed - and what should everyone expect to receive?

Ashes are available for collection on the same day in most of the cases. However, the ordinarily cremated remains can also be ready for collection within one working day - or the day after. The human ashes are given in a standard container, weighing around 3 kilograms - unless specified and paid for something different.

We hope that this article has answered most of your questions regarding the process of cremation - and that you now understand it better!


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