If a person was asked how long ago Cremation started and was given only a moment to answer, chances are they would say somewhere within the last 50-75 years, maybe even that it started in America. However, cremation, in one form or another goes back thousands of years as an viable means of disposing of the dead.
Archaeological evidence reveals that cremations were used in 3000 B.C., and some evidence in Chinese archeological sites even points as far back as 8000 B.C. During the Stone Age, the use of cremation spread through parts of Europe and the Near East.
Cremation as a ritual
In some cultures, like the ancient Greek culture, the burning of a body on wooden pyre was a form of cremation given as a military rite for those who died in battle. In the Roman Empire, emperors were cremated with similar honors, including an eagle being released over the flames to symbolize the emperor’s spirit passing on.
The opposition against cremation
These kinds of rituals, plus the association of cremation as mandatory by some forms of Hinduism and Buddhism, was a major factor in the Catholic Church’s decision to ban cremation because the institution believed cremation to be a paganistic ritual. During the French revolution, non-religious organizations promoted cremation as a means of disposing of the dead without involving the church. Plus, Catholic leaders couldn’t agree on whether or not a cremated body could be raised from the dead.
Since Catholicism banned cremation and the rising faith of Islam completely forbade it, the use of cremation quickly fell out of favor.
The resurgence of cremation
Modern cremation took interest again in the 1800s with the advent of the crematorium as a solution to public health and hygiene concerns. This helped increase the use of cremation, and it cremation began to boom after 1963, when the Catholic Church removed its ban on cremation.
With little opposition, cremation began to rise. Over the next couple of decades, up until the modern day, cremation grew each year and it is now used for 45.1 percent of deaths in America alone.
Are you interested in cremation instead of traditional burial methods? Abbey Cremation Service can help provide you with the guidance and planning you need for arranging the cremation of your loved one. Family-owned and operated, Abbey Cremation Service is located in Rocky Hill, Connecticut however we serve all throughout the state, and can even arrange transport of a loved one should they have passed in another state. Please contact us today at 1-800-890-9000 to discuss your cremation needs today.