Open air cremation

It’s interesting that my previous posting on promession should attract some comments by people alerting me to their campaigns to re-legalise funeral pyres and the latest developments in open air cremation. Aside from promession, resomation and natural burial, funeral pyres and open air cremation are also options available to some of us when we die. With regards to disposal innovations and funerary options, it is an extremely interesting time!

Cynthia Beal alerted me to that fact that the first Open Pyre cremation facility has been approved in the US in Crestone, Colorado, whilst here in the UK a landmark case in 2009 granted a Hindu man to be burnt on an open-air pyre. A Buddhist response is clearly evident on the internet but it would be interesting to know what people of other faiths think about these latest developments in al fresco cremation.

Having written and researched extensively about natural burial here in the UK, my immediate thoughts are ones of curiosity as to why people would be drawn to an open-air cremation/pyre. It would be interesting to know the degree of overlap between the reasons why natural burial appeals and the reasons why open air cremation would appeal to the non-Hindu. Historically, there has always been those in Britain who have a strong inclination towards burial or cremation depending on whether they hold a fear towards worms or fire (cf. Davies, D. J. and A. Shaw (1995). Reusing Old Graves: A report on popular British attitudes. Kent, Shaw & Sons) and much has been written on this by philosophers. It would seem that for those who have a dislike of burial, an open-air pyre would foster that closeness to ‘nature’, a sense of a more ‘natural’ ending and a more relaxed atmosphere for the mourners perhaps (all aspects of natural burial’s allure in the UK) than a regular cremation…only time will tell, but Charles Cowling’s blog gives some interesting initial impressions.

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5 Responses to Open air cremation

  1. The concept of Open air cremation is a great process that should be allowed in the western society, but are we ready for it?

  2. Dr Hannah Rumble says:

    Yes, this is indeed a pertinent question and as an anthropologist, I also ask myself.

  3. The 1st evidence of cremation in the archaeological report dates to approximately twenty,000 B.C. in Mungo Lake, Australia. In the Middle East and Europe, there is proof of cremation as early as the Neolithic period of time, just about 9500 BC.

  4. Liam says:

    I am 30 years old and have requested to my wife that if anything should happen to me and my time is over, I would like an open air pyre cremation. I am neither religious or overly spiritual, but feel a tremendous wellbeing for nature and the great outdoors. I therefore feel it fitting to be laid to rest where I feel most comfortable. I am a good person (I hope), I don’t attend church so I see no reason to be there. I’ve been to several council owned cremations, which are run like a sausage factory. While you wander through the garden of remembrance another service has already started… I would much prefer a pyre and a few fireworks! However, I haven’t seen any funeral directors online that seem to offer open air pyres. Any suggestions?

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