While cremation services are becoming increasingly popular, they can still be a source of uncertainty and discomfort for mourners. One of the aspects that can cause confusion during a cremation service is what happens behind the curtains when the crematorium’s doors close. For many, this marks the final goodbye to their loved ones, and the lack of knowledge about what happens next can be unsettling.

However, understanding what takes place behind the curtains can help demystify the process and provide comfort to those who are grieving. In this article, we will explore what happens behind the curtains during a cremation service. We will delve into the symbolism behind the curtains and why the closing of the curtains is an essential part of the ceremony.

We will also provide an overview of the cremation process, from the moment mourners assemble to the final resting place of the ashes. By shedding light on what occurs behind the curtains, we aim to provide an informative and empathetic guide to cremation services.

Curtains and Symbolism

The curtains at a crematorium serve significant symbolic and emotional purposes during a service. They represent the moment of commitment to the cremation and may symbolize the gates of Heaven for religious individuals.

The act of closing the curtains around the coffin serves as a final goodbye to the deceased, marking the beginning of the cremation process and highlighting the emotional impact of the moment for mourners.

The symbolism of the curtains closing can provide comfort and closure to those in attendance, serving as a visual representation of the transition from life to death. However, it is not required that the curtains close around the casket, and some choose to keep them open, allowing mourners to take their time saying goodbye.

This alternative approach to the curtains can help individuals begin the process of letting go and may provide a more intimate and personal experience for each mourner.

Cremation Process Overview

Following the mourners’ departure, the crematorium technician transports the casket to the cremators, where the remains are exposed to high temperatures for approximately two hours. During this process, several steps are taken to ensure that the remains are handled with care and respect.

First, an identification check is conducted to ensure that the correct individual is being cremated. Non-burnable items, such as pacemakers or jewelry, are removed from the casket. Once the casket is exposed to high temperatures, the remains are cooled and reduced to ashes. Finally, the ashes are placed into a plastic urn unless the family has supplied an alternative container.

There are several ash container options available for families to choose from. Some may prefer to use a traditional urn that is made of ceramic, wood, or metal. Others may opt for a more unique or personalized container, such as a biodegradable urn that can be planted as a tree or a piece of jewelry that contains a small amount of ashes.

Ultimately, the decision on which container to use is up to the family and their preferences. It is important to discuss these options with the crematorium staff to ensure that the chosen container is appropriate for the remains.

Before and After the Service

Before and after a cremation service, there are various steps that are taken to ensure the proper handling and respectful treatment of the remains.

Before the service, the funeral home staff will prepare the casket and ensure that it is identified correctly. They will also remove any non-burnable items, such as jewelry or pacemakers, from the casket to prevent any damage to the cremators.

During the service, the casket may or may not be covered with curtains, depending on the wishes of the family. Closing the curtains is a symbolic moment that represents the commitment to cremation, but it is not required. Some families may choose to keep the curtains open so that mourners can take their time saying goodbye, which can help with the grieving process.

After the service, the coffin remains on the catafalque until all mourners have left. The funeral home staff then uses a hydraulic trolley to transport the coffin to the cremators. From there, the cremation process begins, and the remains are reduced to ashes. The ashes are then placed into a container, usually a plastic urn, unless the family has provided an alternative.

It is important to note that funeral etiquette should be followed before and after the service. This includes being respectful and quiet during the service, dressing appropriately, and expressing condolences to the family. Being aware of these details can help mourners approach the cremation service with sensitivity and empathy.

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