Unraveling the Most Common Misconceptions about Cremation

The myths and misinformation surrounding cremation have existed for decades.

With the surging popularity of cremation as an option for final disposition, these falsehoods are slowly being dispelled. To help set the record straight, here are five common misconceptions about cremation and the truth behind these fallacies.

Misconception #1: You can’t be cremated and have a funeral, too.

This represents the most common misunderstanding about cremation. In actuality, cremation provides more memorialization options than a traditional funeral does. Here are a few of the many ways you might choose to honor your loved one:

  • Funeral with a viewing, cremation to be held after
  • A funeral without a viewing, cremation to be held after
  • Memorial service at a traditional funeral home followed by interment of the ashes
  • Memorial service at an outside venue
  • Scattering of ashes at a location that is meaningful to the deceased

Misconception #2: Cremation is an “alternative” disposition method.

This was the case at one time, but it simply isn’t true anymore. According to the National Funeral Directors Association’s (NFDA) 2019 Cremation & Burial Report, nearly 55% of Americans chose cremation over burial last year. Cremation rates are expected to increase by 30% over the next 20 years, rendering it the most popular choice for disposition. Since cremation is now a commonly accepted practice, it should no longer be described as an “alternative” option. Along with burial, it is one of the two primary choices for disposition.

Myth #3:  Religious doctrine forbids cremation. 

Long ago, many of the world’s major religions were opposed to the idea of people being cremated. Some religions, such as Islam and Judaism, are still against the practice. But many others, including Catholicism and most branches of Christianity, now accept cremation. If you have questions or concerns about your religion’s stance on cremation, consult with your pastor or priest.

Misconception #4: You might get someone else’s ashes returned to you.

The vast majority of funeral providers are members of the International Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Association (ICCFA), National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), or other similar associations. These groups all operate under strict guidelines which have been incorporated into various state laws and regulations that govern the funeral industry. Additionally, every funeral home and crematorium have rigorous protocols in place to ensure the identity of the deceased throughout the cremation process so that the resulting cremated remains are never in doubt. Quality funeral providers are very transparent and strive to deliver ultimate peace of mind in all aspects of their services. They should welcome your questions and the opportunity to address your concerns.

Misconception #5: The scattering of ashes is an illegal practice.

While there are certain public spaces where it is illegal to spread ashes, there are many public and private areas where it is permitted. Each state also has different laws and guidelines regarding where cremated remains can be scattered. If you’re interested in scattering your loved one’s ashes, consult with your local government and agencies about any restrictions or requirements. If you plan to scatter ashes on private land, get written permission from the landowner beforehand.  

Is cremation is right for your loved one?

Only you and your family can make this decision. Consider your options carefully and keep in mind that there is no right or wrong choice. What matters most is that you and your family find the most personally meaningful way to honor your loved one.

If you have questions about cremation or traditional burial services or would like more information, please reach out to our compassionate funeral directors. It’s always our pleasure to assist you.

About Evan W. Smith Funeral Services: Since 2009, residents of Wilmington, Dover, and the surrounding Delaware community have relied on the caring staff at Evan W. Smith Funeral Services to help them through their darkest hours. Family-owned and operated, the company offers an array of elite funeral care services, including traditional funerals, cremations, memorials, pre-planning, and more. With decades of experience in caring for families from all cultural backgrounds and diverse walks of life, Evan W. Smith Funeral Services is committed to creating memorable, uplifting experiences that always exceed expectations. For more information, please visit www.ewsmithfs.com.

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