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Interment of ashes is the practice of burying the remains in a permanent place.
Interring is a preferred method across many religions and cultures, who want to give their loved ones a final resting place.
This guide will take you through some the choices and necessary decisions that need to be made when interring.
We’ll discuss options for where you can bury, a typical ceremony, costs, and also alternatives to interment.
Burying the Ashes
If you decide to bury the ashes, you will need to choose a location. Below you’ll find some of the most popular places chosen by families.
Interring Cremated Ashes in a Cemetery
The cemetery is the most common place where family and friends will bury their loved one’s ashes.
Choosing a Monument
The memorial that you choose will be guided by your tastes, religion, and the cemetery section that you’ve chosen.
If you’ve purchased a plot, it is a good idea to speak with the cemetery administration to find out what can be erected.
Most cemeteries allow the burial of multiple people in the same plot, sometimes as many as four.
Burying Cremated Remains in an Urn Garden
Typically, urn gardens are exceptionally beautiful locations.
The cemetery or other memorial location, usually dedicates a specific area for the garden. The urn containing the ashes can be either below or above ground.
Interring in Landscapes
Many times, you can actually inter the ashes within the landscape. Depending on your budget and preferences, the choices could be in a fountain, a lovely rock, a bench, or any other place within the garden.
As with the other choices, you can mark the location with a memorial marker to indicate the place where your loved one lies.
Interring Cremated Ashes on Private Property
In many cases, a personal burial is desired by the family to keep the ashes close-by on their private property.
The services of a funeral director are not required for the arrangements, however at the time of the burial, the family can certainly have a ceremony.
Most families choose to situate a lasting tribute with a marker or other type of monument by the gravesite.
Suitable Urns for Interring
You need to choose a material that can withstand being underground, which is subject to force and the environment. Metal, granite and marble options are ideal for this.
Recommended Burial Urns
If you’re burying without a container, you will need an urn material which is either sturdy and durable, or completely degradable (If you prefer a green option).
As discussed above, a burial urn would be made of either metal, granite, or marble.
Burial Urns Guide
Want to see some popular burial urns on the market? Check out burial urns guide, which goes through everything you need to know before buying one.
Catholics and Interment of Ashes
The Catholic Church maintained a strict ban against cremation until the 1960s.
Before that time, the Church believed the only way to bury a deceased Catholic was in a Catholic cemetery following a funeral ceremony in the church.
However it’s important to note that nowhere does it state that the bible is against cremation.
Changing of Attitudes
But with so many advantages of cremation and the increasing number of Catholics choosing it, the Church had to change their stance.
Even though Catholics have changed their rules on cremation, they still prohibit the scattering of the ashes.
Additionally, they maintain their belief that the ashes should be buried and cannot be displayed such as on a mantel.
Interment of Ashes Ceremonies
Whether to have a cremation ceremony is certainly a personal preference and usually not a requirement.
If you’re interested in having no service, we recommend reading our guide on direct cremation.
A Traditional Ceremony
A traditional interment ceremony usually involves friends and family gathering at the plot, with a religious leader or celebrant saying a few words about the departed.
Prayers, poems, and songs can be part of the ceremony. This can give mourners an outlet to grieve and a feeling of closure.
How long does a ceremony last?
Ceremonies are typically brief, lasting less than 45 minutes. While the ceremony can be anything that the deceased or the family chooses,
Our experts answer some more questions about cremation, in case you’re wondering about some other aspects.
Below are some of the things that you might expect at a ceremony.
Two part ceremony
Most ceremonies have two parts, which are the viewing and the ceremony.
Whether it’s a casket or urn, the ceremonies can be similar.
A typical ceremony is described below, however if a more casual ceremony is desired, it can be changed to suit your wishes.
- The viewing is for mourners to view the deceased (when an open casket is used). This time is usually open to everyone.
- The ceremony is next.
- The urn or cremation casket is then taken to the interment location
- There is typically a second ceremony at that time, which is frequently a private.
A private ceremony is when the family wants a private gathering with only family and invited guests attending.
The ceremony can be officiated by anyone the decease or the family chooses. In addition, eulogies can be given by friends and family or just story telling about happy moments that were shared with the deceased.
If the person was religious, you can ask a religious leader to officiate.
Interring Cremated Ashes in a Columbarium Niche
A columbarium or cremation niche is a room, normally in a cemetery or church, or it can be a free-standing wall. It contains small individual spaces called niches.
After an urn containing the ashes and sometimes personal keepsakes are placed into the niche, a marker identifying the deceased is placed on the outside.
Alternatives to Burying the Remains
If the ashes are not buried, you will have to decide on what to do with the ashes. The possibilities are endless. Below are just a few suggestions.
The Scattering of Ashes
This is a popular choice where the ashes are scattered at a location such as the beach, the mountains, on a boat, in the woods, or any place that the deceased loved.
Keeping the Ashes with You
For many people, burying the ashes is not an option because they wish to keep the ashes with them or they do not wish to put them underground. There is a vast number of choices for lovely and unique urns in which you can keep the ashes.
Sharing the Ashes
Most people are shocked at the amount and the weight of the ashes; therefore, there is plenty to share with other members of the family or friends who would like to have ashes as well. If they live far you may need to send the ashes by mail.
Turn into Art
You may be surprised to learn that the ashes can be turned into glass and beautiful glass orbs, jewelry, stained glass, or anything else you can think of pertaining to glass can be created.
You can actually turn ashes into diamonds, with businesses using a process which mimics how the earth creates natural ones. Although quite costly, they’re a stunning and elegant, and can be integrated with most types of jewelry sets.
You maybe interested to know that cremation doesn’t have to involve the use of a fire. Also known as green or bio cremation, it is seen as an environmentally sound alternative. If you want to know more, check out our guide on water cremation.
Prayers and Poems for Interment
You may want to include a few prayers or poems in the service. Especially if you are making the arrangements or holding the service yourself.
Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
whose disciples recognized him as he broke bread
at their table after the resurrection:
we thank you for your strength upholding us
in what we have done today,
and now we ask for your presence to be recognized in this home;
bring your peace and joy to each place which stirs the memory;
give your strength and presence in those daily tasks
which used to be shared,
and in all the changes of life give us grace
to do your will day by day,
and to look for the glorious coming of Christ,
when you will gather us together to your table in heaven
to be with you for ever and ever.
we thank you for all those whom we love but see no longer.
As we remember (name of deceased) in this place,
hold before us our beginning and our ending,
the dust from which we come
and the death to which we move,
with a firm hope in your eternal love and purposes for us,
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Non-Religious Ceremony Poems
Not, How Did He Die, But How Did He Live
Not how did he die, but how did he live?
Not what did he gain, but what did he give?
These are the units to measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.
Not, what was his church, nor what was his creed?
But had he befriended those really in need?
Was he ever ready, with word of good cheer,
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
Not what did the sketch in the newspaper say,
But how many were sorry when he passed away.
Miss Me but Let Me Go
When I come to the end of the road,
and the sun has set for me,
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room,
why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little, but not too long
and not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared
miss me, but let me go.
For this is a journey that we all must take
and each must go alone
It’s all a part of the Master’s plan
a step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick at heart,
Go to the friends we know,
And bury your sorrow in doing good deeds,
Miss me, but let me go.
For more funeral poems, have a look at this resource.
Cost of Interment
Just like cremation costs, the price of interment will depend on the choices that you make. Factors like cemetery, plot, marker options will have the biggest bearing on cost.
If you want the deceased to be in a casket with a funeral service, visitation, embalming, and other services, the cost will be as much or more.
If you will be burying an urn, both the urn and plot are usually purchased in advance. Cremated remains take up less space and therefore cost less than a full plot.
You may also share a plot where a family member is already buried.
Prices will depend on the burial options chosen- contact the cemetery for exact prices.
It is a lot to think about, therefore, this was created with the basics, all in one place, and in the presumed order, so that you will at least know what needs to be thought about and which choices you will need to make.
This information will hopefully help to guide you in planning your own interment of ashes in advance to decrease some of the stress that your family members will be experiencing.
If you’re a loved one of the deceased who is making the arrangements for the interment of ashes, my deepest condolences. I hope this will aid you in your time of sorrow.