Dating rituals in other countries
In classical antiquity, cremation was a military procedure and thus was associated with battlefield honors. The seventeenth-century French painter Nicolas Poussin echoed another classical story in his masterpiece The Ashes of Phocion, perhaps the most famous of all cremation-linked paintings, in which a faithful wife gathers the ashes of her husband, an improperly shamed leader who was cremated without the proper rites.
E., cremation was gradually abandoned in favor of earth burial as a symbol of the burial and resurrection of Christ.Tradition tells how his funeral pyre self-ignited, but only after many followers had come to pay respects to his body.When the flames ceased, no ash remained—only bones.The major social elements related to massive increases in the population of industrial towns and major cities, whose cemeteries were increasingly hard-pressed to cope with the volume of the dead in an era of heightened concern with public hygiene—corpses buried near the surface of the ground were seen as a potential health risk.This was also a period of considerable interest in freedom of thought and creative engagement with ideas of progress.The fire itself is the medium by which the body is offered to the gods as a kind of last sacrifice; cremation should take place in Banaras, the sacred city through which the sacred Ganges River flows.
It is on the banks of the Ganges that cremations occur and cremated remains are placed in its holy waters.
Cremation is the burning of the human body until its soft parts are destroyed by fire.
The skeletal remains and ash residue (cremains) often become the object of religious rites, one for the body and one for the bones.
Hindus living in other parts of the world also practice cremation and either place cremated remains in local rivers or send the remains to be placed in the Ganges.
While rites are also performed for set periods after cremation, there is no monument for the dead, whose ultimate destiny lies in the future and not in some past event. Cremation is the preferred funeral rite for Buddhists as well and is reinforced by the fact that the Buddha was himself cremated.
Contemporary Buddhists practice both cremation and burial.