Cremation is increasingly the choice of final disposition for a variety of reasons. With the mobility of our society, visiting a family cemetery plot has become much less common or practical. Cost is also a huge incentive towards cremation. Others prefer the smaller environmental footprint and simplicity of cremation.
There is evidence that humans have been using fire for the disposition of the dead for approximately 20,000 years. Some religious groups, such as Muslims, Orthodox Christians and Jews forbid cremation while others such as Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists require it.
Cremation offers numerous options regarding when and where services and/or memorialization takes place. Cremation may occur after a traditional viewing and services if desired. If simple cremation is selected, services may be scheduled for a future time and a location most convenient for the survivors. Cremated remains may be buried in the ground, placed in a columbarium, kept on the mantle or scattered in nature, depending upon the wishes of the deceased and survivors. Cremation offers the widest number of options at the most economical cost. Here in Washington state, approximately four in five families choose cremation.