When a death occurs it can happen suddenly and on any day of the week. We are all busy and the only time all parties might be available to have cremation and funeral service may be on Saturday or Sunday.
So the question is whether or not you have a cremation on a Sunday in the US legally and ethically?
Yes, you can have a cremation in the US on a Sunday. It is not as common as on other days of the week, but at most crematoriums, it can be done with no issues. The two issues that do arise are that if there is a mandatory waiting period or the business is not opening due to religious reasons.
Many people want to observe the actual cremation and it is no usually held on the same day as the service. So if they do not offer a cremation on Sunday you do have options.
There are many more fine points to this as well as why some places do not hold cremations, so reading the rest of this article will explain in further detail.
If this is your first time planning a cremation and a funeral, let’s start by getting back to the basics and then move onto the issue of holding a cremation on a Sunday.
When does a cremation usually take place?
There is no exact date for when the cremation usually takes place. But cremations and funerals are most commonly done during the weekdays and in the mornings.
You have a lot of options with cremation. If the deceased wanted a direct cremation it could happen as soon as legally possible. The only legal reason to wait would be mandatory state rules on when cremation could take place. Most states will require a 24-hour waiting period but check first on the laws as your state may not have a time limit.
Other common factors that delay the cremation process are usually due to weather, holidays, and the winter season.
Inclement weather would stop people from traveling and they may want to delay the process so everyone could view the cremation. The holidays are another one, people want to be together and are traveling so when death strikes they cannot get back quickly.
Lastly, during the winter months, there is a rise in deaths due to the weather and illnesses. The crematorium can get back up because the process is time and labor-intensive. It can take up to three weeks if they are really busy.
Do you have to have the funeral and cremation on the same day?
Well, not really. You can certainly plan for a funeral a day or so before the body is actually cremated, but this seems to occur rarely.
Usually, a cremation happens within hours of the funeral service, which also often happens at the crematorium. Even when the funeral service happens at a religious center, the body is then transported to the place of cremation to be cremated soon after.
However, there is nothing legally stopping you from holding a funeral on a Friday or Saturday and delaying the cremation until the Sunday.
How long does it take for a cremation service and the actual cremation?
The length of the cremation service depends on what you want, but the average time is around 20-30 minutes. For these usually, some sort of religious officiant speaks as do some members of the family.
The viewing room is not that large and is just usually a small room for around 10-15 people to stand in. There will be a window into the cremation room where one can watch their loved one go into the furnace.
The actual cremation takes anywhere from one and a half hours to three hours. There are many factors that can be taken into consideration, but the major one on the length of the cremation is the size off the person. The larger the deceased the longer it will take.
You also have to wait for the incinerator to cool down afterward. When that is done the remains that are not burned are removed. If there is any metal of jewelry that is usually removed with a magnet (to learn what happens to jewelry during a cremation check out my article here).
The leftover remains of bone fragments are then ground down to more fine particulate and all of it is put into a container of your choosing.
You can pick up the ashes as soon as legally possible again this varies from state to state and crematorium to crematorium. Also, keep in mind for them to release them to do you, your name must be on file with them. They are not allowed to give over human remains to anyone that includes family members that are not on record with them.
Tips for a cremation service on a Sunday
- Religious Officials- You will be able to find some religious officiants that will come on Sundays but a lot of Christian ones are busy or look at it as disrespectful to do it on Sunday. There is no explicit Christian scripture that says that this can’t take place on Sundays. They also may have to travel from a distance before or after a service. Be sure to check with them before you make plans.
- Cost- Since most people work during the week and have weekends off the cost of getting a slot will be higher. This also goes for the religious officiant if they charge as well. If you are trying to save some money during the middle of the week and in the morning could be cheaper.
- Availability- Again it is the when most people have off so you may not be able to book a time, especially during the winter months. Traveling a distance may be an option for you to have means for the body to be transported, but the costs will add up again. You can keep the body refrigerated for an extended amount of time if you really want and you can read more about it here.
Who can have a body cremated?
If it is not stipulated in the deceased will and there is no power of attorney, usually he next-of-kin is the person responsible for authorizing whatever type of service that they choose, including a cremation.
In some states, they call this person the “authorizing agent”. You cannot just do this by phone or email, for a cremation to happen you need to sign an authorization form or declaration for disposition of cremated remains. It is called the Cremation Authorization Form and it will again vary by state.
Legally next of kin are classified from the spouse, then to the parents, to adult children, their siblings, adult grandchildren, nieces/nephews, etc.
It mostly goes by descending order of blood relationship and even if one family member may be closer to the deceased. This is where contention may arise about what to do with the body and could go to court if parties do not agree.
You want to have a will or a document on file stating what you wish or who is in charge of the end of life arrangements so these things do not happen.
If no one has claimed the body of the family does not have money for the cremation they can sign a form to release it to the local authorities. They will then usually cremate it and possibly return the ashes to you.
Another common method is to bury the body in a “paupers grave” this is where many bodies are buried in a mass grave at once. If you don’t have enough money for a funeral read here on what to do and what organizations may be able to help you out in this trying time.
Is a casket required for a cremation?
No, you do not need a casket or coffin for cremation. While some state laws require that an “alternative container” is needed. It can be any rigid, combustible container such as a cardboard or a plywood container. You can even rent a casket if you wanted to which I talk about in my article here.
Why is cremation is a good choice?
There are many reasons that cremation is becoming a popular choice in the US. It has been on the rise for years and has no sign of slowing down.
- Money- It is cheaper to have a cremation than to bury the body. With more low-cost caskets such as carboard and the ability to rent a casket, it is even cheaper than ever.
- The environment- It is not the greenest option out there, but it is much better than a traditional funeral. Most of the time the body is not embalmed which uses a lot of harsh chemicals that are not only harmful to people but also the environment. Land consumption is less as well and the use of natural resources. If you are really interested in helping the environment read about green funerals in my article here.
- Time- By having a cremation first, you do not have to rush the service. You can wait a long as you want and can think and process things before you have a service or remembrance event.
What do people do with the remains?
You have a lot of options from placing them in a cemetery, to having an artificial reef made out of them. The most popular is to scatter them somewhere the loved one wanted to be.
This is not always advised as it could be detrimental to the environment and in some places illegal. If you choose to do this check with local laws and wildlife organizations.
For more information on scattering ashes, please feel free to read my more in-depth article here.
What will the remains look like?
The cremated remains will have the resemblance of coarse sand and gravel. The color is gray in color and depending on the size of the person weighs on average 4 to 8 pounds.
Can two cremations be performed at once?
Yes, in most cases and depending on the size of the crematorium. furnace and the state laws. The people usually have to be related somehow.