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Cremation explained

When having to decide between traditional burial and cremation, it is best to know each process before making a final decision.

There are a lot of misconceptions about cremation.

Hopefully we will be able to clear most of the misconceptions by explaining the whole process.

The furnace used is designed for cremation purposes only and can only take one body at a time.

Before the process the body of the deceased is properly identified. Some medical devices, such as pacemakers, are removed from the body as it can react to the flames and explode.

The whole process is handled with utmost care and respect.

With cremation the chosen coffin is used, but more eco-friendly coffins are also available.

The coffin, along with the body, is placed in the furnace. The heat reaches 400 °C up to 700 °C and this process takes two to three hours to be completed.

After the body is cremated the remains are given time to cool down by being placed in a cooling tray.

The remains are inspected and any remnants of metal left behind are removed.

This will be sent to a recycler.

The remains are bits of bone and ashes from the coffin. The bone is placed in a special grinder that grinds the fragments to what is called “cremains”.

These are put in a plastic bag and returned to the family or funeral home.

The ashes are then put in a scatter urn or a container supplied by the family.

  • These are frequently asked questions: Can relatives watch the cremation process?
  • It is possible, but depends on the crematorium. Some crematoriums have areas where one or two people can witness the process while others have limited space which makes it impossible. How long does it take to receive the ashes?

We at Martin’s Bethlehem can deliver the ashes within a week.

We use the crematorium in Kroonstad and it is then sent back by courier.

  • The family is notified as soon as it arrives. Can anyone collect the ashes?
  • Preferably it should be the closest family member or the informant. If they are not able to, they must notify the funeral home so they can give it to the nominated person. How can I be sure the ashes I receive are not someone else’s?

As mentioned, the body is properly identified before cremation.

  • The crematorium takes special care in making sure the ashes are properly marked and sent back correctly. You can be guaranteed that it will be handed over correctly.Are there more than one person cremated at a time?

Absolutely not.

The cremation furnace is built to only take one body at a time. It is impossible to cremate more than one at a time.

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