Cremations and cremation urns have a long and varied history; from plain and simple, to ornate and decorative, cremation urns are a way of memorializing a loved one in a beautiful way.
Cremation is one of the longest-standing commemorative traditions in history, and cremation urns signify respect in storing the deceased’s ashes.
The earliest evidence of cremation urns dates from 7000 BC China and simple pottery cremation urns were used in Neolithic or Stone Age Europe. As time went on, they became increasingly decorative, with Romans in particular known for their elaborate cremation urns.
However, cremation fell out of favor when early Christians considered the practice a Pagan ritual. It wasn’t until early last century that modern cremation re-emerged.
Today, cremations outnumber traditional burials, and accounted for 75% of funerals in the UK in 2015. Given the increasing cost of funerals, it is unsurprising that cremation, in particular the no-fuss approach of direct cremation, has become popular.
A 2016 YouGov poll revealed 58% of respondents wanted to be cremated when they die, and of these, 79% wanted their ashes scattered. Only 9% expected their ashes to be kept.
Such decisions can be expressed in your funeral plan, along with the type of cremation urn you’d like. Cremation urns are traditionally made of ceramic, but can also be marble, brass, bronze, wood, stainless steel or glass, and come in various shapes, colours, and designs.
However, they all have the common purpose of holding ashes indefinitely as a form of reverence for your loved ones – choosing the right one will be a personal choice. An individual urn might suffice, or a companion urn should you wish to be placed with your significant other when the time comes.
A keepsake urn – which is often more ornate – might be preferable if you only wish to keep a small portion of the ashes, although there is an increasing trend of turning a small sample of ashes into jewellery as a keepsake too.