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What is a Funeral Pyre?

Funeral Pyres

Let’s learn about funeral pyres and open-air cremation.

What is a Funeral Pyre?

A funeral pyre is a construction of wood (sometimes with a base of stone) on which a human body is burned.

Also known as “open air cremation,” the use of funeral pyres is common in some traditions but is not common (or even legal) in most of the modern Western world.

What is Open-Air Cremation?

Open-air cremation is the process of cremation (reducing a body to ash by use of fire) set out in the open. This is done by placing the body on a funeral pyre, then stoking the fire and burning until the corpse is reduced to ashes.

What is a funeral pyre?
Digital rendering of a funeral pyre – Copyright USUrnsOnline

Is Open-Air Cremation Legal in the USA?

No. Open-air cremation or burning human bodies on funeral pyres is not legal in most of the Western world.

However, there is an exception. In Crestone, Colorado, the Crestone End of Life Project operates a legal open-air cremation site where people can be legally cremated on a funeral pyre. You would have to be both a member of their organization and a resident of Crestone in order to qualify for their open-air cremation ceremony.

What Countries Still Use Funeral Pyres?

Other countries that practice open-air cremation include:

Will Funeral Pyres Ever Be Legal in the USA?

Possibly. Attitudes and ideas about death practices are changing rapidly in the Western world. Contemporary cremation in a crematorium has only been around since the late 1800s. Polite society frowned upon cremation for decades following its introduction.

However, in the last two decades the rate of cremation has risen tremendously. In 2016, the rate of cremation in the USA increased to 50.2, meaning that for the first time more than half of all decedents were cremated.

Now there are many other options for final disposition available and being researched. People ask about “Viking funerals” and being cremated on a funeral pyre all the time, so interest is clearly growing.

But will open air cremation ever be legal in the USA, Canada, Europe, or other areas of the Western world? Only time will tell.

Read more: Here’s the complete list of everything you can do with your body after you die

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What is Open Air Cremation?
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Final Disposition Options: Cremation, Burial, and More

Burials, cremation, and more

Planning ahead and making your final arrangements in advance is a great idea. This will save your loved ones from tons of stress, and it will probably save them money as well. The first decision you’ll face in thinking about your funeral arrangements is the question of what to do with your body.

Here are all the mainstream final disposition options:

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16 DIY Options for Scattering Ashes

If you’re planning your own DIY scattering ashes service, you’ll need some sort of method or container for the actual scattering.

Here we’ve gathered together all your options for scattering ashes, ranging from budget-friendly DIY ideas that cost you pennies all the way up to pre-made scattering urn containers specifically designed for ease of use in scattering ashes.

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Video: How to Fill a Biodegradable Cremation Urn

Eco friendly disposition methods for cremated remains

Scattering ashes is becoming a popular choice as a final disposition method for cremated remains. “Scattering” is something of a blanket term to describe any means of disposing of remains in the great outdoors. This includes scattering at sea, in rivers, from a helicopter, on a mountaintop, off a cliff, in a park, at the family ranch, or even ground burial at or near any of these types of locations. Continue reading Video: How to Fill a Biodegradable Cremation Urn

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How and Where to Store an Urn

Storage of Cremation Urns

Final arrangements FAQWhen a loved one is cremated, there are many options available for honoring the life of the individual in the storage or disposition of the remains. These options can generally be distilled down to three basic choices, each of which will be discussed in its own post:

  1. Burial
  2. Scattering
  3. Storage

Click the link to view each disposition method. In today’s post, we will discuss the options for urn storage, in the home or in a columbarium. Continue reading How and Where to Store an Urn

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How to Scatter Ashes

Scattering Cremated Remains

Final arrangements FAQWhen a loved one is cremated, there are many options available for honoring the life of the individual in the storage or disposition of the remains. These options can generally be distilled down to three basic choices, each of which will be discussed in its own post:

  1. Burial
  2. Scattering
  3. Storage

Click the link to view each option. Today we will look into the process of scattering ashes or cremains. Continue reading How to Scatter Ashes

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How to Bury an Urn

Ideas for urn burial

Final arrangements FAQWhen a loved one is cremated, there are many options available for honoring the life of the individual in the storage or disposition of the remains. These options can generally be distilled down to three basic choices, each of which will be discussed in its own post:

  1. Burial
  2. Scattering
  3. Storage

Click the link to view each option. Let’s begin with the first choice listed here, burial of a cremation urn.

Continue reading How to Bury an Urn