Everything You Need to Know About the History of Cremation

When it comes time to make a decision on how you would like to be remembered, or who you would like to memorialize a loved one, the choice can seem overwhelming.

Dealing with a loss or planning for one is never an easy task. It is important to think about how you would like to be remembered though.

For some, the traditional burial is not the right choice, in fact, cremation in the United States is at an all-time high. 

There are many questions surrounding this growing practice though, and you may be curious about its origins.

We are going to guide you through the history of cremation to help you gain an understanding of the practice.

Let’s begin.

Everything You Need to Know About the History of Cremation

The following information is here to help you understand the practice of cremation and its origins. Let’s take a look at where it all began.

Western Cremation in Ancient Times

Cremation has existed for thousands of years. There is evidence of cremation in China dating as far back as to 8000 B.C.

The more widespread practice of cremation happened during the Stone Age around 2500 B.C in eastern Europe. Evidence of this can be found from the decorative urns and pottery found in the region.

During the Bronze Age, cremation practices spread to the British Isles. Cemeteries for cremation were widespread in areas such as modern-day Ireland and Hungary.

As time when on cremation became the most popular practice and was encouraged for health reasons of the public.

Grecian and Roman Empires both practiced the ceremony with joy to memorialize the deceased.

In war times elaborate cremation ceremonies were held to honor the soldiers who had passed. 

The Era ofChange

During the time of Constantine the Empires began to become Christianized.

This Christianization of the empires led to a rapid decline in cremation, which was now viewed as a Pagan ritual.

Around 400A.D earth burials had replaced cremations in the western empires.

By the end of the 5th century A.D cremation had all but disappeared except for in cases of war or disease.

In Other Cultures

In Southeast Asia cremation has existed as the desired method of memorializing for thousands of years. 

In Countries like Bali, ceremonies of cremation are extravagant and colorful. In some cases, bodies that have been buried will be carried to a decorative tower to be burned.

In other countries such as Laos and Tibet, cremation is reserved only for a select few.

In India, it is a great honor for people of the Hindu faith to be incinerated within the city of Varanasi. The cremation takes place and the ashes are spread into the Ganges River.

Cremation in Modern Times

Cremation gained popularity in the west again in the 1800s. The invention of the cremation chamber by professor Brunetti was a practical chamber that could be used for easy hygienic cremation services.

Cremation services began to spread across Europe and into the United States with the first modern Crematorium opening in Pennsylvania in 1876.

Cremation is currently practiced in over 30 countries around the world.  

Final Thoughts

The history of cremation lets us understand this practice as a way to properly memorize our loved ones. It has been practiced for thousands of years by many cultures. Cremation is a celebration of life.

Taking the time to understand this ancient custom will help you in making the decision on what is right for you and your loved ones.

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