Cremation Myths Debunked: Separating Fact From Fiction

By: Alterna Cremation
Friday, January 12, 2024

In our modern society, we tend to shy away from the topics of death and dying. It's not common to openly discuss the details and customs associated with funeral and disposition services, which is why a shroud of mystery often surrounds the cremation process.

At Alterna Cremation, we believe in the power of education and are always available to openly walk families in our care through our direct cremation process and respond to their questions and concerns with honesty and compassion.

Over the years, we've encountered many individuals and families who have felt uneasy about certain elements of direct cremation, only to discover that those elements were actually rooted in misinformation or misunderstandings. Below, we've highlighted four common myths about cremation services and effectively debunked each of them:

Cremation Involves Setting a Body on Fire

While it's true that cremation involves the reduction of a human body using intense heat, it's a misconception that it involves actually lighting a body on fire.

The Truth: At Alterna, our cremation chamber reaches temperatures between 538 to 1093°C / 1000 to 2000℉, which causes thermal decomposition to occur. The remaining bone fragments are then ground into a fine powder known as cremains. (Though commonly referred to as ashes, cremated remains are not actually composed of ash at all.)

Multiple Bodies Are Cremated at the Same Time

If you've heard that multiple bodies may be simultaneously cremated together—or, perhaps, that you could easily receive the wrong remains or have your loved one's remains returned to you mixed with someone else's ashes—you've heard incorrectly.

The Truth: Not only are most cremation chambers unable to fit more than one human body, but in Canada, it's prohibited by law to cremate multiple bodies together. At Alterna (as at all reputable funeral homes), bodies remain properly identified from the moment we take them into our care and are treated with the utmost respect and dignity.

Cremation Is Only for Atheists

Has someone told you that cremation is frowned upon or prohibited for people of faith? If so, they didn't tell you the whole story.

The Truth: While there are certain religions that don't formally allow for cremation (Islam, Judaism, some sects of Christianity, and more), there are also many religions that believe strongly in cremation (Hinduism, Buddhism, and more). Many Christian sects that used to oppose cremation are now neutral to it, including Catholicism. Religious families and individuals from a variety of different backgrounds choose cremation every single day.

You Can't Have a Funeral or Memorial Service With a Direct Cremation

You can't have a casket burial after cremation, but that doesn't mean you can't have a traditional funeral or memorial service to honour and remember your loved one.

The Truth: Funeral services and memorial gatherings provide comfort, closure, and a meaningful opportunity to come together in celebration of the life of a loved one who has passed. Choosing cremation doesn't prevent this. While every situation is unique, many families in our care plan services and memorials with or without the body present (prior to cremation) or a cremation urn present (after cremation).

Still have questions about the direct cremation process? Don't hesitate to reach out to our dedicated team at Alterna Cremation so we can help you further separate fact from fiction. Contact us today to learn more about cremation in Winnipeg.

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