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Comparing Cremation Traditions from Around the World August 17, 2016

Cremations have become more widely accepted by a variety of religions throughout the world, and particularly in the United States. Like traditional funeral services, however, traditions involving cremations can vary widely from place to place. We thought it would be interesting to share the differences between traditions from Hindu cremations vs those of traditional cremations in the United States.

Hindu Cremation Rituals

In Hinduism, cremation is a common practice. Hindus believe that when a body is cremated, it facilitates the soul returning to its proper place in the divine force. Hindus also believe that cremations should take place quickly, usually within a day.

The body is usually prepared with a washing, many times by family members. The washing takes place in a blend of milk, yogurt and butter. Purified water is also sometime used. Hands are placed in a position of prayer and the body is wrapped in a white sheet and placed in an inexpensive casket. Flowers are herbs are placed around the body and a brief wake takes place. Following the wake, the body is removed, feet first and preferably facing south, for cremation. In India, bodies are cremated along the Ganges River.

Here in the United States, where cremations may only take place at a crematory, many of these traditionally rituals may take place. The Cremation Society of Greater Cincinnati has their own crematory with an observation room. This well-appointed observation area is styled in a living room setting with Italian granite. Therefore, if the choice is made to witness the cremation, there is a facility that is accommodating.

American Cremations

Here in the United States, the number of families choosing cremation is growing. The services and traditions surrounding a cremation, however, may not be too different from that of a tradition burial. Cremations may have visiting hours, a final service, a burial and a post services gathering. Cremations in the United States can also be very non-traditional. Some families decide to forgo the visitation hours and may choose another option from burial. Ashes may be scattered over the ocean or kept in an urn. Some family members are now choosing to have a very small amount of cremains used in the creation of keepsake jewelry or art glass.

Like modern traditional final services, many of today’s cremations tend to celebrate the life of a loved one with more upbeat observances. Arrangements are made and an atmosphere created is less somber in these celebratory services.

With such a wide-range of accepted options today, we invite you to contact the Cremation Society of Greater Society to discuss your choices. Whether you are planning the cremation of a loved one or pre-planning for your own, we can assist you. Contact the Cremation Society of Cincinnati today.