As the name suggests, cremation urns are containers that are meant to hold the cremated remains of a deceased.
Purchasing a cremation urn, however, is not mandatory as the ashes can also be collected in temporary container or transparent plastic bag provided by the crematory.
Nevertheless, it is suggested to get an urn and store the cremation ashes in it when planning to place the remains in a niche within a columbarium.
Similarly, you will need a cremation urn when considering about getting the ashes entombed in a crypt within a mausoleum.
Image Credit: Memorials.com
Besides, you may opt to keep the cremated remains in an urn while burying the ashes in a family burial plot or urn garden. Biodegradable urns are considered particularly good in this regard.
These urns are environment-friendly as they are made from sustainable materials like natural clay, plant fibers, recycled paper, maple, etc.
Those who prefer to keep the ashes (or a mere portion of the ashes after scattering) at home can buy a meaning and aesthetic cremation urn to be displayed on a mantle or shelf for the memorialization of a loved one and help create a warm memory.
Cremation urns are prepared from a variety of materials such as ceramic, granite, wood, crystal, glass, bronze, brass, stainless steel, resin, and so on.
Moreover, they are available in different shapes, styles, and sizes that can be expensive or affordable. Certain stores also offer options for personalizing cremation urns by engraving a few lines on the container.
Another smart and thoughtful idea is to place the cremation urns in a water-soluble urn and float it in water.
For instance, some water burial urns tend to float for a while and then slowly sink in water within a few minutes signifying the passing away of a loved one in a dignified way.
What do Cremated Remains Look Like?
Although cremated remains or cremains are usually referred to as ashes, they actually have a different texture because when the body is burned, it reduces to dust and bone fragments.
These shards and pieces are further pulverized to get a fine powder. The resultant powder tends to be pasty white in color and resembles fine gravel.
On an average, the cremains weigh about 3-7 pounds. The weight of cremated remains depends upon the size of the corpse. Similarly, the volume reduces to approximately one cubic inch (or a little less) per pound.
Cremation urns for adults measure about 175-300 cubic inches. The ones meant for holding the ashes of young children and keepsake urns for storing a small portion of the remains usually have a lower capacity.
Double or companion urns, on the other hand, have a greater capacity of almost 300-600 cubic inches as they are designed to hold the cremated remains of two individuals.
It is suggested to consult a crematorium or funeral home to help you determine the size of the urn you need. In case the cremated remains do not fit in the urn, the crematory is likely to return the excess in a default container or plastic box.
Cremation Association Of North America, Cremation Memorial Options