Incineration (funeral cremation) evolution over time.

The evolution of cremations in Spain is constantly increasing. In 2018 it was 41% of the total deaths in the country and it is expected that in 2025 it will represent the majority choice of both citizens and their families.

Due to this growing preference, I would like to share with you this article published by Daniela on the web

Despite the popularity of this practice in recent times, cremation is very old and there were times when it was even prohibited or punished. To learn a little more about this practice or ritual, we bring you a chronological journey through its history:

• The first known cremations occurred in the area of the Mediterranean coast in the Neolithic, but declined during the establishment of the Semitic culture in that area around the third millennium BC. C.

• Cremation was widely observed as a barbaric practice in the Ancient Near East, used only out of necessity in times of plagues.

• The Babylonians, according to Herodotus, embalmed their dead and the Zoroastrian Persians punished anyone who attempted cremation with capital punishment, with a special regulation for the purification of profane fire.

• In Europe, there are cremation traces dating from the early Bronze Age (2000 BC) in the Pannonian Plain and along the Middle Danube. The custom became dominant through the Bronze Age with the Urnfield Culture (1300 BC).

• In the Iron Age, burial became more common again, but cremation persisted in the Villanova culture and elsewhere.

• Homer notes on the funerals of Patroclus, describing his cremation and his subsequent burial in a mound similar to those of the culture of the urn fields, being qualified as the earliest description of the cremation rites.

• The earliest cremations may have been connected to ideas of immolation with fire, such as Taranis, god of Celtic paganism.

• The Hindu religion is notable for not only allowing it but prescribing it. Cremation in India is attested already in the culture of Cemetery H (1900 BC), considered as the formative stage of Vedic civilization.

• Cremation was common, but not universal, in both Greece and Rome. In Rome, burial was considered the most archaic rite and the Cornelian gens, one of the most cultured in Rome - with the sole exception of Sulla, they never allowed the burning of their dead.

• Christianity condemned cremation influenced by the principles of Judaism, and in an attempt to abolish pagan Greco-Roman rituals.

• Towards the V century d. C., the practice of cremation had disappeared from Europe.

• Living cremation was used as part of the punishment of heretics, and this not only included burning alive at the stake. For example, in 1428 the Catholic Church unearthed the body of the English translator John Wyclif (1320-1384) and cremated it. His ashes were scattered in a river as an explicit form of posthumous punishment, for denying the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation.

• Retributive cremation (based on living shares) continued into modern times. For example, after World War II, the bodies of 12 men convicted of crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg Trials, were not returned to their relatives, but cremated, and deposited in a secret location, as a specific part of a legal process aimed at denying the use of said location as any kind of memorial.

• In Japan, however, a memorial building for executed war criminals, who were also cremated, was allowed to be erected to confine their remains.

• The modern cremation movement began in 1873, with the presentation of a cremation chamber by Paduan Professor Brunetti at an exhibition in Vienna.

• In Great Britain, the movement was supported by Queen Victoria's surgeon, Sir Henry Thompson, who together with his colleagues founded the Cremation Society of England in 1874.

• The first in the United States was built in 1874 by Julius LeMoyne in Pennsylvania).

• The second cremation in the USA was that of Charles F. Winslow, verified in Salt Lake City (Utah) in July 1877.

• The first crematoria in Europe were built in 1878 in Gotha (Germany) and in Woking (England). The first cremation in Britain took place on March 26, 1886 (eight years after the crematorium was built) in Woking.

• Cremation was declared legal in England and Wales, when Dr. William Price was tried for cremating his son. Formal legislation followed later with the authorization of the Cremation Act of 1902 (said Act had no legal extension in Ireland) which entailed procedural requirements before a cremation could occur and restrict its practice to authorized places.

• Some Protestant churches began to accept cremation, under the rational premise of being: "God can raise a dead person from a bowl of ashes as easily as He can raise one from a bowl of dust."

• The Catholic Encyclopedia criticized these efforts, referring to them as a "sinister movement" and associating it with Freemasonry even though it said that "in the practice of cremation there is nothing directly opposed to any dogma of the Church."

• In 1963, Pope Paul VI lifted the ban on cremation, and in 1966 allowed Catholic priests the possibility of officiating at cremation ceremonies.


Published by:Daniela -