One of the services you can have after a cremation service in Cherry Hill, NJ, is an ash-scattering ceremony. It is a simple event similar to a graveside committal service, where families and friends gather to say goodbye to the deceased.
A scattering ceremony can be formal or informal; you can do it alone or with guests. Whichever shape it takes, here’s how to make it meaningful.
1. Pick out the location
A scattering ceremony can happen anywhere. It is one of the beautiful advantages of cremation. You can choose somewhere emotionally significant to you or the deceased instead of confined to a cemetery. Where did they love spending time? Did they specify where they would like their ashes to be scattered? Which place reminds you of them the most? Planning a meaningful scattering ceremony means making decisions based on what applies to you (and your loved one) rather than what’s popular or most convenient. When you settle on a location, make sure to know the rules and regulations. No federal laws restrict ash scattering, but local areas and private properties may have their guidelines.
2. Decide the type of service
Next, decide how you wish to scatter the ashes. A typical way is to drop the ashes out of the urn and let the wind spread them. This type of scattering is known as a casting ceremony, but there’s more:
- Trenching: you dig a hole or trench in any shape or form and spread the ashes inside. Then cover it up. It usually happens on a beach, but it can be done anywhere (if acceptable).
- Aerial or sky: similar to a casting ceremony but occurs at a higher altitude. The ashes are dispersed from a plane, hot air balloon, helicopter, or tall building over their favorite area.
- Water: the ashes are placed in a water-soluble urn, and the water carries them away until it dissolves. A biodegradable urn is required.
These are by no means the only ways to scatter the ashes. Other methods include releasing the ashes with paper lanterns, setting off fireworks, or spreading and raking them into the soil.
The right type of scattering usually comes down to what’s possible in your preferred location and what best represents the personality and life of your loved one. When someone dies without specifying their final wishes, everyone with a stake in the funeral should be carried along on final disposition plans.
3. Determine the service agenda
Finally, choose what else will be part of the funeral services. Who will lead it, and what will happen during the event? It can be music, poems, eulogy, stories, or prayers. It’s your event, and you’re tailoring it to your loved one. It can be anything. If you’re choosing poems or music, go with your loved one’s favorites or something that means something to both of you. If there will be guests, decide who will spread the ashes. Usually, it is the next of kin, but it’s okay for several family members to spread portions of the ashes. Whoever it will be, inform them ahead of time to avoid mistakes. You may want to have a reception after. It can be a hangout at the deceased’s favorite restaurant or a picnic at a local park.
And that’s how to plan a meaningful ash-scattering ceremony. Need help arranging one? Reach out to our Cherry Hill, NJ cremation service. We help families design unique traditions. Call us or visit us here to get started.