Scattering of cremation ashes is most widely-used as it is a simple exercise that can be done practically anywhere. Aside from cremations generally being a more cost-effective option than burials, an increasing number of people are choosing cremation over burial as religious acceptance grows and family traditions fall away. Another social factor for choosing a cremation is due to a rising number of global and mobile families located worldwide, at greater distances from each other than previously.

The act of scattering ashes is spiritually symbolic for setting a loved one free and it is also an opportunity to remember them in a manner of their choosing. Since ashes are thought to have little impact on the environment, it allows for a broad range of choices when searching for a significant place for the ceremony.

There are, however, some aspects that one needs to be aware of. The cremation remains, (cremains), consist of crushed bone left after the actual cremation. These pieces are not all the same size, and while some are more solid and may immediately fall to the ground, the majority are fine and light like dust, which makes them easy to carry on the wind. Due to this reason, any guests present should be advised to stand upwind during the scattering so that they do not accidentally get in the path of the ashes as they are being dispersed. Sonja Smith Funeral Group can provide a beautiful scatter urn designed exactly for this purpose.

Also, whoever is scattering the ashes, and depending on the type of scattering conducted, they will need to realise that some of the heavier ashes may fall directly to their feet. Obviously, the idea is to get the majority of the ashes lifted into the wind and carried away from the ceremonial party.

The person who is chosen to scatter the ashes, will depend on the type of ash scattering involved; one person or everyone present may have a portion of ashes to scatter. This is purely a matter of personal preference by the deceased’s family.

Once the body has been cremated, there is no urgency to do anything with the ashes. It leaves more time for the loved ones who are left behind to think about how, when and where the ashes will be scattered and allows them more time to plan a memorial service if desired. The memorial and scattering can be two different events, held weeks or even years apart. This flexible time period allows the loved ones to deal with their grief before any committal service.

When it comes to a place where the ashes are to be scattered, the choice of location is virtually endless. Cremated remains require little or no land space at all – unlike burials. They can be kept in an urn at home or placed in a columbarium/ wall of remembrance for family and friends’ visits. If it is decided to bury the urn containing the ashes, this will still require less land than the burial of a coffin. However, local by-laws should be investigated before the burial or scattering of ashes in certain public places is undertaken, as special permission may be required.

Here are some suggestions for places where ashes can be scattered;

Private Property

For many people, scattering the ashes or burying them on a piece of family land is the first choice. For them, it means that their loved one will always be near.

Public Property

There may be a specific place or activity that the loved one enjoyed and where their ashes can be scattered. Again, it may be necessary to check the legalities with the local municipality on what the local legislation allows with regards to this.

At Sea

If your loved one wanted their ashes scattered at sea or on a body of water inland, and you don’t have a boat, many companies will hire out a vessel to allow you to do this. Just ensure that your boat is far enough offshore and upwind from the scattering. Enquire at the local NSRI about a ceremony conducted by a chaplain and remember to take a few flowers on board to throw in the sea after scattering. Some clients have mixed the ashes with glitter and the small children will never forget the glittering ashes drifting away in the sea. If you prefer not to scatter the ashes, they can be placed in a biodegradable container and set on the water to float away. In time, the container will dissolve, allowing the ashes to gently float away.

A Memorial Park

A legacy or memorial park is a privately owned piece of land where a small lot can be bought to bury the ashes or a fee paid to scatter them with wildflower seeds into the park. Security of all visitors is ensured when visitors pay their respects to late family members or friends.

National Parks

Ashes may be scattered at some National Parks, such as the Kruger National Park. However, a written request must be submitted, and a permit received to scatter the loved one’s ashes in the park. No container or other object may be left behind.

Garden of Remembrance

Many crematoriums and churches have a garden or wall of remembrance, where a loved one’s ashes can be scattered or safely interred in a wall with a plaque.

Plant A Tree

Many types of biodegradable urns are available online. Some of them, tree urns, turn the cremation ashes into a beautiful memory tree once planted. Ask us about our Bio-Tree Urns.

Aerial Scattering

The scattering of ashes by aircraft, drone or hot air balloon is a unique way of scattering a loved one’s ashes. Some aircraft are fitted with special instruments that allow the dignified scattering of ashes, or a specific scattering urn can be used.

Special Spot

A favourite vacation spot, a place where a significant and happy life event took place, or even a place where the deceased always wanted to visit is another idea where their ashes can be scattered. Don’t forget to pick up a few pebbles or shells at the beach and return them in the container for ashes as a keepsake.

At Home

Some people prefer to keep the urn on the mantelpiece, or in the base of a windchime that will jingle in the wind.A memorial corner in your garden with a bench and a water feature can be your safe haven where you can be quiet and reflect.

Burying Ashes

A small trench or hole may be dug, and the ashes buried there in a biodegradable container. Again, it may be necessary to check the local municipality’s legalities of burying an urn in a specific place.

Sonja Smith Funeral Group will help make your deceased’s last wishes come true and assist you with arranging the scattering of the ashes if required. Contact us for insightful and compassionate advice.