Category Archives: cremation

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Interesting Death Traditions From Across the Globe

How are death and services done at funeral homes in Oakland, CA? What about in the rest of the world?

Whether you’re working on a research project, satisfying curiosity, or preparing for your eventual passing or the passing of a loved one, this information on interesting global funeral and cremation traditions is here to help. These are just a few traditions from around the world, but they offer inspiration for your own planning and inspire tolerance for those who are different from us.

In Mexico, The Day of the Dead, or el Día de los Muertos, is an annual festival in which people set up altars in their homes featuring photos of their deceased ancestors as well as offerings like food, candles, flowers, and drinks. The idea is that the ancestor photos will summon them from the land of the dead so they can enjoy the offerings and visit with their living family members. Sikhs believe in reincarnation. However, most choose to be cremated when they die. Before cremation, the body is washed and dressed in traditional Sikh attire then placed in a casket while those gathering recite prayers and read scripture from the Guru Granth Sahib. More prayers are recited during the cremation, and afterwards, the remains are either buried in scattered in water. The Malagasy tribe of Madagascar have a tradition called “Famadihana,” which means “the turning of the bones.” Every five or seven years, the people of the tribe will remove the bodies of their deceased loved ones from their graves, wrap them in fresh burial clothes, spritz them with fragrance, and even dance with them. This ritual is viewed as a way to reconnect with the dead and ask them for blessings.

The Nordic people in Northern Europe are very connected to the sea, even in death. They traditionally set bodies adrift on the sea in coffin boats or lay coffins on cliffs facing the water. In the Islamic religion, bodies remain in their caskets until Judgement Day when they will be physically resurrected. Because of this belief, bodies must be buried within twenty-four hours of death to ensure the body is in the best possible condition. In India, the bereaved traditionally dress the deceased in bright colors that represent their best virtues, such as yellow for knowledge and red for purity, and parade them through the streets. Afterward, they sprinkle the bodies with holy water and cremate them.

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While every culture from across the globe might seem very different at first, they each have three aspects in common when it comes to rituals around death: ceremonies, special places for burial or placement, and some sort of memorial or monument. However, some aspects of our culture might seem strange to others just as aspects of other cultures might seem strange to us.

We are also here to help if you want more information on global death rituals or Oakland, CA funeral homes. Call or visit us today to learn more about what we can do for you in your time of loss.

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What Can We Learn from Global Death Traditions?

Our traditions for death, funerals and cremation services in Oakland, CA are not the same as those from around the world, but that doesn’t make these other traditions bad or wrong, just different. In fact, there’s a lot we can learn from these other traditions! What do you think we can learn from them? How can they inspire you as you preplan for your passing or deal with the loss of a loved one?

Here are some customs around death and loss that are different from ours, but no less meaningful or beautiful. These are just a few of the many unique death traditions and rituals people practice around the world. In India, most people believe in rebirth until eventual removal from rebirth into nirvana. To help the deceased escape rebirth and enter nirvana, the bereaved scatter the deceased’s ashes in a holy place, such as Varanasi. In Germany, cemeteries are almost exclusively operated by churches and the state, which means there aren’t that many available for burial at any given time. That’s why most cemetery plots are rented for twenty to thirty years. At the end of the rental term, the plot is used for another body.

In the Philippines, the Tinguian people dress their dead in the finest possible clothes and then sit them up in chairs with lit cigarettes for weeks at a time. Iranian people believe that dead bodies defile everything they touch, including the ground and fire. That’s why some sects raise bodies into the sky on towers for the vultures to pick clean. Believers clean bodies with bull urine and cut off the clothing with tools, and then place them on the Towers of Silence.

In aboriginal Australia, the indigenous people believe the spirit of a recently deceased person will go back to the land before it can be reborn into a new human body. After somebody dies, the community holds a smoking ceremony at the deceased’s home in which the attendees use smoke to drive the spirit from the body so it can begin its next journey. Afterward, the body is placed on a platform, covered with leaves, and left to return to the earth in its own time. In Jewish culture, the dead are not left alone between the time of death and the burial.

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The Chevra Kadisha is a group of people, usually amassed from the local communities and synagogues, who wash and shroud the bodies and then sit with them until burial. Traditionally, women will sit with deceased women and men with men. In Kiribati, an island in the Pacific, the local tribes display the cleaned and polished skulls of their loved ones in their homes, but only after the bodies are left out in the house for up to 12 days, buried, and then dug up again for the skull removal.

We are here to help if want to learn more about our rituals and traditions at Oakland, CA cremation services. Call or visit us today to learn more.

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Cremation Traditions in Oakland, CA

Historians believe funeral and cremation traditions date as far back as 60,000 BC, but our modern traditions are very different from the ones back then. How have our traditions changes, and what are the most common traditions around death and cremation services in Oakland, CA?

Here are the most common modern funeral and cremation traditions in America. This is far from a comprehensive list of American funeral traditions. Others include pallbearers, open caskets, embalming, sending flowers, funeral processions, wearing black, and more. You are allowed to choose all, some, or none of these traditions to celebrate the life of your lost loved one. However, the most common include:

  • Burial – A burial is a form of final disposition in which a body is buried in a hole in the ground. Also known as internment, burial is one of the longest-standing death traditions in the United States. Burial first became popular as a way to keep animals away from a body and to protect the living from the smell of the decaying body. However, it quickly transformed into a way to show respect for the dead and as a way for the bereaved to be able to visit the deceased to continue to pay their respects. Interestingly, the “six feet deep” rule is just a myth. There is no nationwide law regarding grave depth, as necessary depth depends on soil type, method of burial, and other factors. The most common depth requirement is 36 inches.
  • ReceptionFuneral services are traditionally followed by a reception or wake at which the bereaved can receive support and comfort from the funeral attendees. Receptions, help the bereaved’s community get together and honor the family. These gatherings can be held almost anywhere, from banquet halls and restaurants to churches, homes, or even parks. The bereaved generally invite all the funeral attendees, but some open it up to the general public or keep it more intimate with only close family and friends.
  • Viewings and Visitations – A visitation is when the family of the bereaved make themselves available for other family, friends, coworkers, and anyone who’d like to come so these people can express their condolences of the passing. Similarly, a viewing is when the bereaved can gather to view the body and express condolences. Viewings are often held at the funeral home, but can also be held in other locations.
  • Funerals – A traditional funeral usually consists of a viewing or visitation followed by a funeral service that includes readings, prayers, and eulogies and is concluded with the body being buried or entombed. What Americans think most of when they think of funerals is the general somber feeling combined with black attire, religious moments, and burial at a cemetery. However, these days, funerals and other services like memorials can be almost anything.

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Do you want to learn more about traditions surrounding death or Oakland, CA cremation services? We are here to help, so please call or visit us today for more information on our services or how we can help in your time of loss or preplanning.

cremation service in Oakland, CA

What Will Your Legacy Be?

Leaving a legacy can mean two things. First, a legacy can be money or property left to someone in a will. Second, a legacy can also mean the outlook, values, or training that you pass on to other people in your family and beyond. What will your legacy be after your death and cremation service in Oakland, CA?

Leaving a legacy might seem overwhelming, but it’s really as simple as living the way you want to be remembered. No matter which type of legacy you’re referring to, it can be said that a legacy is always creating something valuable in your life that can be passed on to other after your death. You can leave one, either, or both kinds of legacies to help people remember and honor you after you’re gone.

Here are some specific tips for crafting and leaving your legacy. Think about what you want written on your tombstone. Consider how you want to be remembered, and then live that way. You can also be your best before you work on others and share memories. It will be pretty hard to pass on some idealistic torch if you don’t live that way yourself. Think about what matters most to you. Where do you spend your time and money? Those are the things you treasure most, and are most likely going to be what you’re remembered for. For example, if you spend most of your time at work, you’ll be remembered as a hard worker. write a legacy statement.

Consider what others want. You might think that spending all your time at work to provide for your family might be what they want, but it also might not be. Perhaps your children or family would rather have more quality time with you than new toys or a fancy car. Take time to understand what would really make others happy and encourage them. If you don’t know, just ask! You can write down what you want your legacy to be to help guide your actions. Consider what you’ll be remembered for, what characteristics or skills you want to pass down, what traditions you want your family to continue, and a main belief or worldview you’d like to pass on. Then, plan for how you’ll accomplish what you wrote in your statement.

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Work on living your beliefs and ideals. That way, others will be inspired by the example you set and might then choose to live that way as well. The stories you tell reflect your values and make others smile. Tell stories from your life, your family’s lives, and others you remember to make happy memories, reflect your values, and put smiles on people’s faces. Finally, why not give your time to the people you care about? Work, hobbies, and social events can make us busy, maybe even too busy to spend time with those you care about most. Show your loved ones that they’re priorities for you by making them priorities in your schedule.

We are here to help if you want more legacy tips or information on Oakland, CA cremation services. Simply call or visit us today for more information.

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Tributes for Your Special Loved One

Your lost loved one was incredibly unique. How can you commemorate exactly what made your lost loved one so special after their cremation service in Oakland, CA? Modern families often seek ways to make a service more personalized for the deceased, such as honoring what made the deceased special by celebrating their interests or hobbies.

Take this list of niche tribute ideas as inspiration so you can plan a personalized service to honor and remember your lost loved one. After all, the service should be just as unique as the person its honoring.

For example, who doesn’t love fishing? If the deceased was a big fishing fan, celebrate that in the service by serving fish at the reception, donating fishing kits to local charities in honor of the deceased, or displaying photos of all their great catches. Don’t forget about gardening. Flowers and other plants are always welcome at services, especially if the deceased loved to garden. Celebrate their love of gardening by filling the service with flowers, giving guests seed packets, displaying a casket or an urn with a flower motif, or using a memorial tree urn or casket to bury the remains.

What about photography? From snaps on a smart phone to old-school photo shoots, there are many ways to be interested in photography. Similarly, there are many ways to celebrate the life of someone who loved photography, like displaying pictures the deceased took, playing a slideshow of their work, or encouraging attendees to snap photos and share them. Did your lost loved one like golf? You can easily celebrate golf! If your loved one was a golfer, there are many ways you can include the golfing theme as part of the service, from having the service at the country club and setting out their golf bag as decor to setting up a golf memorabilia table with scorecards, collectibles, photos, and more.

There’s also antiquing! Many people get into antiquing as an expression of their love of decorating, the enjoyment of the style of a particular era, or as a fun way to make a little side money as they discover, fix up, and resell antique furniture and collectibles. If your loved one was into antiques, showcase the hobby at the service by creating an antique scrapbook or decorating the space with some of their favorite pieces. Did your lost loved one enjoy boating or being out on the water? Celebrate that interest with boat-themed touches at the service. For example, you can have the service at a beach or dock, or even on a boat. You could also play tracks of ocean waves, display boat models, or display a large piece of sail cloth for attendees to sign or notate memories of the deceased.

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We are here to help if you want more information on planning unique services with niche tributes or Oakland, CA cremation services. Call or visit us today to learn more about what we can do for you in your time of loss or preplanning.

cremation services in Oakland, CA

Can Cremation Services Be Death Positive?

When you think about funerals or cremations, you most likely picture somber, dark rooms full of grief, formality, macabre moments, and feelings of loss. Like most, you probably associate death with negative feelings and thoughts. The death positive movement, however, seeks to accept death as a natural part of life without treating it as taboo. Keep reading to find out if cremation services in Oakland, CA can be death positive.

The death positive movement is thought to have first been derived from the work of anthropologist Ernest Becker in his 1973 book “The Denial of Death.” The term “death positive” was later created by coined by author and mortician Caitlin Doughty, who was heavily influenced by Becker. The movement centers around the concept that, as death a natural part of life, we need to be comfortable with talking about, planning for, and generally accepting death. The movement’s leaders give examples including having honest discussions with loved ones and family about the process of dying, what happens to bodies after death, death rituals and traditions, options for burial, funerals, body disposition, and ceremonies to honor a person’s legacy. No matter how or what you do as part of the death positive movement, its main idea is that if we talk about and approach death from an open and honest place, we won’t be so afraid and anxious about it.

Based on this information, yes! Cremation services can be death positive! Here are more of the movement’s integral ideas and beliefs to help you decide if its right for you.

Modern generations are very uncomfortable with death and dead bodies. However, the positive death movement believes that personally taking care of a loved one’s body after death results in open and healthy grief. They also believe green or natural burial options should be available for all. Natural burials are when the body or cremated remains are buried without embalming or a shroud and in a simple pine casket or cremation urn. This does necessitate a quick process after a death, but it is most similar to how our ancestors lost and grieved. Family-centered funerals should be the norm. Instead of written in a will or discussed after a death with a funeral director, end-of-life wishes should be openly and honestly discussed with the family. This encourages positivity and normalcy around death and also helps ensure the deceased’s final wishes are carried out.

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The idea that hands-on participation in the service, body preparation, and burial or cremation can be healing is another core death positivity belief. The death positivity movement also believes in the incorporation of meaningful rituals and ceremony into the activities surrounding a death. Science has shown rituals such as eulogies, readings, songs or singing, donating a body to science, or even the simple act of burial or cremains scattering offer closure, aid in grief, and lead to healthier mourning.

Call or visit us today for more information as we are happy to help if you want to learn more about the death positivity movement or have questions about Oakland, CA cremation services.

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How to Support Someone in Grief

If someone you know and love recently lost someone, you probably want to help them however you can. After all, losing a loved one and going through their memorial and cremation service in Oakland, CA is never easy. Use these 10 simple ways to express sympathy to inspire your actions:

  1. Provide Condolences – Even saying something as simple as, “My condolences” or “I’m sorry for your loss” can go a long way towards helping someone feel supported and not as alone in their grief.
  2. Join the Service – Attending the funeral or memorial service will show the bereaved that you care enough to take time of out of your busy schedule to show up for them. If you can’t make it, be sure to send a card, note, or at least make a phone call to express your sadness at missing the event.
  3. Gift Flowers – While sending flowers after a funeral or memorial might feel stereotypical, its tradition for a reason. Flowers are a lovely, simple way to show the bereaved you care and are thinking of them in their time of loss.
  4. Cook a Meal – Simple, easy, and straightforward, bringing a meal helps meet the bereaved’s physical and emotional needs. Cook something comforting like soup, casserole, or pasta, or try something the deceased loved.
  5. Acknowledge the Loss – You might go back to life as usual after the funeral, but the bereaved won’t. Remember, your friend will still mourn long after the funeral is over. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge the loss and talk about the deceased. Ask how they’re doing, share a memory of their loved one with them, let them know you miss him or her, too. This will mean a lot.
  6. Just Be Present – Oftentimes, the best thing you can do for a grieving person is to just be with them. Sit with them at home, bring by coffee or baked goods, call, text, or simply listen to them talk. Don’t try to fix the grief or offer advice. Instead, listen, acknowledge, and be there for them however they need. Your presence alone can be a genuine comfort during this difficult time.
  7. Offer Understanding – Grief can feel impossible, leading some people to seek company, others to find alone time, and yet others to lash out. Be patient and understanding with the bereaved and don’t be offended.
  8. Offer Help – When helping, be specific. The bereaved won’t take you up on a general “let me know how I can help.” But they will most likely accept specific help. For example, offer to watch the kids, mow the lawn, or bring by groceries.
  9. Send a Sympathy Gift – If you can’t be there in person to support the bereaved, try sending gifts like practical items or memorial keepsakes.
  10. Pray – While not everyone believes in a higher power, knowing that someone cares enough to pray for you always feels good.

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These are just a few of the many ways you can help someone going through a loss. Pay us a visit or give us a call today for more information on grieving or Oakland, CA funeral homes.

cremation services in Oakland, CA

What Are Companion Urns?

Companion urns are large containers that hold the remains of two people after their cremation services in Oakland, CA. Often intended for a husband and wife or other partners, these urns generally have two separate compartments or one open area large enough for both sets of cremated remains.

Companion urns also have double the capacity of standard adult urns. Standard adult urns usually have a capacity of 200 cubic inches, while companion urns have 350-400 cubic inch capacity to hold the cremated remains of two people. Wondering if your companion urn will be large enough? Assume that 1 pound of a person’s body weight will leave about 1 cubic inch of cremated remains. So, for example, if someone who weights 200 pounds wants to be buried with a 150-pound person, they need a 350 cubic inch companion urn.

Companion urns come in two standard shapes. There are two standard companion urn shapes: vase-style, rounded and box-shaped, rectangular. The vase-style, rounded urns are often ceramic as they are made on a potter’s wheel, while the rectangular urns are often made from metal, stone, or wood as square, cornered construction is easier with those materials. Are you into saving the environment? Biodegradable companion urns can be released into the ocean. Biodegradable companion urns are eco-friendly vessels that allow you to bury or scatter the remains out in nature. They are made from natural materials that will decompose over time, returning your loved ones’ remains to the earth.

Want to be sure generations to come know who is in the urn? Add a photograph! You can personalize a companion urn with individual photos of who is inside or, even better, a photo of the two people together. Try a photo-etched stone or granite urn that has the picture carved directly into the urn’s surface. You can also look into photo frame urns that allow you to change out the picture as often as you’d like.

Companion urns also come in many different materials. You can find companion urns in almost any material, from metal and granite to wood, glass, ceramic, marble, and more. In order to narrow down your options, consider how the urn will be used. For example, do you want it to be buried? Choose a durable material like stone, granite, or marble if you want it to last, or wood or another biodegradable material if you want it to decay naturally. You can personalize companion urns even if one or both of the people are still living. Pre-planning for your eventual passing can also include personalizing your future companion urn. Try inscriptions with a personal sentiment, important dates, or even a special message from you to your loved ones.

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We are here to help if you’re interested in learning more about companion urns or other Oakland, CA cremation services. After all, if you love someone so much that you don’t want to be apart from them, even after cremation service, a companion urn might be the answer. Simply call or visit us today to learn more about what we can do for you.

cremation service in Oakland, CA

Become a Tree When You Die

Are you interested in becoming a tree after your death and cremation service in Oakland, CA? Cremation tree kits are easy, eco-friendly, and beautiful ways to plant trees from a loved one’s remains while honoring and celebrating your lost loved one’s life for generations to come.

This internment option is when cremated remains are buried with tree seeds, and the remains nourish and sustain the tree as it grows. Cremation tree urns are biodegradable urns designed to hold cremains, fertilizer, and tree seed. They also come with pH-neutralizing agents and fertilizers to help the cremains nourish the tree seed as it grows and flourishes into a free. When planted in the ground with cremains, cremation tree urns incorporate the cremains into the tree’s nourishment, turning your lost loved one’s remains into part of the tree, like a living memorial. There are many different types of trees you can plant with a cremation tree urn, including: Ponderosa Pine Tree, Quaking Aspen, Sugar Maple, Tulip Poplar, Blue Spruce, Deodara Cedar, Dogwood, Eastern Red Bud, Flowering Cherry, Ginkgo Biloba, Jacaranda, Japanese Maple, Mexican Fan Palm, Oak, and Palo Verde.

If you’re interested in planting a cremation tree with your lost loved one’s cremated remains, keep in mind that each cremation tree kit will come with complete, specific instructions.

However, here’s a basic rundown of the process.

Before you plant, look up the best type of environment for the tree, including sun exposure, water needs, and soil type, as you want to ensure that you set the tree up for success. After all, you want your lost loved one’s tree to be big and beautiful for generations to come. Then, prepare the urn by removing the plastic wrap and locating the lower vessel for the cremains and the cap, which contains the nutrients for the tree.

To prep the urn for planting, soak the seed packet as instructed, then place the wood pulp bag into the lower vessel along with no more than 1-1/4 cup of ashes, leaving enough room to fold it over and get the cap on. To plant the urn, place the cap or lid over the lower vessel, dig a six- to seven-inch-deep hole, and place the run upright into the hole so the lower vessel touches the bottom. Replace the soil so there’s no more than one inch of dirt covering the urn. Next, simply follow the watering directions for the tree type to ensure it will grow big, strong, and beautiful. It’s important to note that cremated remains don’t “expire”, so you can use your loved one’s cremains to plant a tree at any time, even years after their passing. However, after placing the cremains into the urn, you should plant the tree as soon as possible to ensure the seeds germinate and grow properly.

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Do you want more tips on cremation trees or Oakland, CA cremation services? Deer Creek Funeral Service is here to help. We offer expert services and information, so call or visit us today for more information on what we can do for you.

cremation service in Oakland, CA

What if Your Loved One Doesn’t Want a Service?

How can you honor a lost loved one if they don’t want a memorial after a cremation service in Oakland, CA?

Sometimes people don’t want a big “goodbye” after they’re gone, and that’s OK. But without a service or memorial, it can be tough for their friends, family, and other loved ones to honor and celebrate their life. Thankfully, there are plenty of alternatives to traditional funerals and memorial services. With a little thoughtful planning, you and your family can figure out what will work best. Here are some ideas for what you can do to honor your lost loved one or the passing of a friend without a service:

  • Write an Obituary – Obituaries are traditions for a reason, as they provide the chance to remember the deceased, honor their life and accomplishments, and help the bereaved grieve.
  • Get Creative – There are many ways to remember and honor a lost loved one through the creative arts. If you like drawing or painting, draw or paint a portrait of your lost loved one or of an item or image that reminds you of them. If you like to write, write a poem, short story, or even a letter about the deceased.
  • Post a Tribute – Social media, from Facebook to Instagram, offers wonderful opportunities to honor the deceased without a service or memorial. Write a tribute post about the deceased and the impact they had on your life, or simply post some of your favorite photos of the deceased.
  • Build a Slideshow – Slideshows about the deceased’s life are common at funerals and memorials, but you can still make one even if there won’t be a service. Feature lots of pictures, videos, and memories. You can even include your lost loved one’s favorite music.
  • Send Flowers – Sending flowers is a thoughtful, traditional way of remembering the deceased and giving their loved one’s support.
  • Dedicate a Tree – Not only will dedicating a tree help replant and forest and provide homes to forest animals but it will also honor and remember the deceased for generations to come.
  • Send Food – This thoughtful gesture of support helps the bereaved grieve without having to worry about cooking or ordering food. Be sure to check with the family about dietary restrictions or needs before sending food. Aside from homemade food, you can also use meal delivery apps to send takeout or even send credits so they can order their own meals at their leisure.
  • Create a Memory Book – Using pictures, notes, drawings, or clippings, build a memory book of the deceased. This book will help you remember the good time with your lost loved one and will serve as a reminder of their life for future generations.

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There are many ways to get closure after a death beyond a traditional funeral or service. No matter how you may feel about a loved one who does not want a funeral, it is important to honor their last wishes.

Deer Creek Funeral Service is here to help if you want more ideas on mourning in unique ways or information on Oakland, CA cremation services. Call today!