Cremation is a popular choice today, but you may be surprised at just how long a history the practice has. In fact, cremation dates back to the Stone Age, and after an extended period of falling out favor, has become increasingly popular again over the past century. Take a look back at the history of cremation here.
Stone Ages through the Roman Empire
Historians believe that it is likely that cremation began as a practice during the Stone Age, probably in Europe or the Near East. The practice is thought to have spread relatively quickly throughout Northern Europe and the western portion of Russia and then to Greece, the British Isles, Spain, and Portugal during the Bronze Age. In Greece, cremation was encouraged as a means of slowing the spread of disease. In the Roman Empire, with the exception of early Christians, cremation was the preferred method of handling the decreased.
Christianity and the Decline of Cremation
After Constantine Christianized the Roman Empire, cremation fell out of favor. As Christianity spread, the decline in demand for cremation followed. From approximately 400 A.D. until the 1800s, burial was significantly more popular in Europe than cremation, while its popularity increased in other parts of the world. During this period, cremation was only embraced in Europe in response to the outbreak of illness or war.
In Europe and North America, cremation began to increase in popularity in the late 1800s. Medical professionals advocated for cremation to reduce the spread of disease and improve public health. Over the next century, the demand for cremation steadily increased. By 2009, over 36% of deaths led to cremations, with projections indicating that over 50% would be dealt with using cremation before 2020.
Roman Catholics and Cremation
According to a 2012 article in The Catholic World Report , “In 1963, the Vatican lifted the cremation ban. Since 1997, cremated remains have been allowed to be present at funeral Masses, and are given the same respect as remains in a casket. Cremated remains must be buried, just like a body, in a cemetery, crypt, or other appropriate burial place. Scattering ashes or keeping them at home is not permitted.” Ask us about the many beautiful Alcove settings we have for placing cremated remains.
Inglewood Park Cemetery is pleased to offer cremation services in the Los Angeles area alongside our other cemetery services. Whether you need help pre-planning your cremation or burial or need assistance planning service for a loved one who has passed, please call us at (310) 412-6500.
After a funeral service for a loved one, you may be part of a procession going to the cemetery for a graveside service. If you have never been part of a funeral procession, you may have some questions about what to expect. Here are some of the facts you need to know.
You will need to adjust your speed.
When you are part of a funeral procession, you will need to drive slower than you normally would. In most cases, funeral processions don’t exceed 35 to 40 miles per hour on secondary roads and 55 miles per hour on highways. It is important to maintain the same speed as the rest of the procession, neither pressuring the car in front of you to go faster or leaving a large gap between you and the car in front of you. It is important for funeral processions to remain tightly together, so that other cars cannot inadvertently enter the procession.
Funeral processions have the right-of-way in traffic.
Funeral processions always have the right-of-way in traffic, so follow the procession closely, even if you reach a stop sign or red light. Other traffic should yield to you. Often a military, police, or other motorcycle escort, will block cross traffic at major intersections to allow the procession to pass. ( Never insist on the right of way if someone simply will not stop, or tries to cut in line to make a turn. An accident will delay the entire procession and could cause a serious injury or fatality.) Generally, you should not stop during a funeral procession unless the entire procession has stopped or there is an emergency that prevents you from going forward.
You should use your headlights
Typically, cars in a funeral procession have magnetic flags placed on their hoods, or yellow banners on their windshields, that identify them as part of a procession. However, don’t rely on the flag or banner to alert other drivers. Every car in a procession should also have their headlights on. Don’t use your hazard lights unless asked to do so. The last car in a procession usually puts on their hazards to signal the end of the line, so using yours could confuse other drivers.
At the cemetery, the procession will be directed to the appropriate parking area for the service. At Inglewood Park Cemetery, we offer a variety of cemetery burial and cremation memorial options to help families honor their lost loved ones. Get more information about our cemetery services in the Los Angeles area by calling (310) 412-6500.