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Cremation Urns, Ash Caskets and Scatter Tubes

History and Significance of Cremation Urns

A cremation urn is basically meant to hold the cremated remains or ashes received after cremating a dead body. During cremation, the human body is reduced to almost 3-7 pounds, depending on the size and weight of the individual.

It is interesting to note that although we generally refer to cremains as ashes, the body does not actually turn into ash after incineration; it reduces into minute particles and pieces of bones that are further ground to get powdery consistency.

Anyway, coming back to urns, they are particularly used in cultures that recommend the process of cremation for disposing of the dead body. It is believed that this helps reduce the soul’s attachment to the body.

Urns are also known as cremation urns, funeral urns, memorial urns, or cinerary urns. The tradition of using funeral urns was introduced by the Ancient Greeks. They were originally called lekythoi.

The vase-like containers were used to store oil used for anointing dead bodies. In addition, archeologists have excavated such urns from the Stone Age in caves of Europe and the North East.

Thus, it is estimated that cremation began around 3000 BC. The term cremation comes from the Latin word ‘crematus’ which means ‘to burn up’.

According to the experts, findings of the decorative pottery urns in western Russia among the Slavic or Indo-European people suggest that the practice spread across the Europe towards the end of Stone Age.

Next, it advanced further into the Northern Mediterranean regions. Urns from Bronze Age have found in Hungary and northern Italy.

During the Mycenaean period, Greeks used to cremate dead soldiers, store the resultant ashes in urns and used these urns in ceremonies to honor the heroes. With the passage of time, people started displaying urns containing cremated remains in columbarium niches.

The tradition started during the Roman Empire, and it is still prevailing. In fact, cremation became so prevalent that around the mid 5th Century AD, an official decree against the cremation of the bodies within the city had to be issued.

However, as certain sects like the early Christians and Jews were against cremation, the practice of earth burial (except in instances of famine, pestilence, and war) became prominent almost since 400 AD.

The Eastern Orthodox Churches, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims discourage cremation even in the present times.

Nevertheless, the cremation movement again started over a century ago when Professor Brunetti of Italy introduced the first cremation chamber model at the Vienna Exposition in 1873. So, the movement started simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic.

Queen Victoria’s surgeon, Sir Henry Thompson, promoted the movement to avoid hazardous health conditions. In 1874, he founded the Cremation Society of England along with his colleagues.

The first crematories were built in 1878 in Europe. In North America, the first crematory was built in 1876 in Pennsylvania.

There were almost 52 crematories in the North by 1913. Thus, with the increasing rate of cremations, the demand for cremation or memorial urns is also increasing.

You can read up more about the history of cremation at the CANA (Cremation Association of North America) website.

People opt for elegant memorial urns not just for storing the cremated remains but also for showing their love and respect for the departed loved one.

These urns can be made of a variety of materials ranging from earthenware to metal and even glass. With the emergence of pet crematories, decorative urns for pets, too, have become popular.

Cremation Urn Cremation Urn Pandanus

 

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