Ash Scattering Services

For families who have chosen cremation for a loved one, the next decision involves what to do with the remains. Some choose to keep the cremated remains in their home, have them placed in a columbarium niche at a local cemetery, or scatter the ashes in a meaningful place.

Scattering Ashes

Cremation provides families with more time to arrange where and how to scatter the ashes. While there is no policing agency overseeing scattering, there are some basics you should know:

  • If you plan on scattering ashes on private property, it's smart to receive written permission from the owner.
  • Public parks require that you obtain a scattering permit.
  • There are no regulations regarding ash scattering on uncontrolled public lands; you need to use your own judgment.
  • You should not scatter ashes within 100 yards of public roads or trails.
  • The cremation container must be disposed of separately and in an environmentally-safe manner.
  • Scattering ashes in inland waters is governed by the Clean Water Act so it's important to obtain a permit from the agency that oversees waterways.
  • Ash scattering at sea must be done at a minimum of three nautical miles from the coastline.
  • Any flowers or wreaths used in the ash scattering ceremony held at sea must decompose. No plastic flowers or other non-decomposable items should be left behind.
  • For ash scattering done at sea, the Environmental Protection Agency requires that you notify the regional office in writing within 30 days after the event.

How to Scatter Ashes

Cremated remains bear little resemblance to ashes; they look and behave a lot like small-grained gravel. However, there are some fine-grains mixed in so be sure to check the wind direction before scattering into the air or a body of water.

Types of Ash Scattering

There are many different ways to hold ash scattering services. Depending on the way you spread the ashes will determine the type of ceremony you hold. Each type of ceremony allows family and friends to honor their loved one each in distinctly unique ways. With a countless number of ceremonies, we’ve chosen to focus our attention on the three most popular types of ash scattering ceremonies.

Should you need advice on how to design a meaningful ceremony, feel free to call us at (801) 405-7444.

Casting Ceremony

A casting ceremony is a way of scattering ashes where the remains are tossed into the wind. This is what most people commonly envision when they think of an ash scattering ceremony. Many people prefer this kind of service because they feel it helps symbolize the freeing or letting go of their loved one’s spirit.

Water Ceremony

If your loved one enjoyed spending time on the water, a water ceremony might be the perfect choice. For this type of service, the remains are placed in a water-soluble urn and then released from a boat. Once in the water, the urn will float for a few moments before dissolving and gently scattering the ashes into the water.

Trenching Ceremony

A trenching ceremony is very similar to a raking ceremony. For this type of ash scattering service, a trench or hole is dug and then filled with the deceased’s cremated remains. After family members have had the chance to share a memory or say something, the trench is then filled in.

Raking Ceremony

A raking ceremony is another popular type of ash scattering service. For this type of ceremony, the ashes are spread out across a section of soil typically in a garden. Family members often take turns gently raking the cremated remains into the soil while sharing a memory of the deceased.

Sky or Aerial Ceremony

An emerging trend for scattering ashes is releasing them from the sky. For this type of a ceremony, you will need to hire a private company to fly your loved one’s remains high into the sky and then release them. Because most companies don’t allow people in the plane during the scattering portion, many families will hold a small ceremony on the ground before the plane takes off.

Ash Scattering Ideas

There are many ways to honor a loved one’s passing in a unique and personal way. If you want to make your loved one’s ash scattering ceremony extra special, take a look at some of the innovative ash scattering ideas other families have arranged. We have listed some ash scattering ideas below.

Lantern Release

Lantern releases are a popular way to say goodbye to a loved one in many cultures around the world. Paper lanterns or “Chinese lanterns” holding some of the deceased’s ashes are released into the sky and slowly rise up. Many people believe releasing paper lanterns symbolizes light leading the deceased up into heaven. To take the tribute one step further, families will write personal messages or prayers on the lantern.

Nurture New Life

Continue the circle of life and use your loved one’s ashes to help nurture new life. There are now biodegradable urns that help nurture trees. The remains are placed in a biodegradable urn and are planted with a tree. As the tree grows, it will use the cremated remains for nutrients.

A Permanent Reminder

Keep a part of your loved one with you forever by getting a permanent reminder. Several tattoo artists are now finding ways to mix your loved one’s ashes into the ink for a tattoo. Create a truly one-of-a-kind tribute by getting a memorial tattoo to memorialize your loved one.

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