Once a deceased loved one is cremated, there are many different options for what to do with the ashes. Some people choose to bury them in a cemetery, entomb them in a columbarium, keep them at home in an urn or even turn them into beautiful pieces of cremation jewelry or memorial art.
Others decide – whether at the request of the deceased or due to personal reasons – to scatter the cremated remains somewhere. Along with the choice to scatter, however, comes a whole new set of decisions to be made. In particular, where those remains should be disbursed?
Let’s take a look at a few of the most common places where cremated ashes are scattered.
1. Scattering Ashes on Private Property
Many folks choose to keep the cremains of their loved one close to them by scattering their ashes on their own private property, like in the garden or around a nearby tree. If you choose to scatter ashes on private land that belongs to someone else, however, such as in a field or on a farm, be sure to obtain the landowner’s permission in advance of the ceremony. Another thing to keep in mind when scattering on private property is whether you will have the right to visit that property in the future.
2. Scattering Ashes on Water
Another popular way to scatter cremation ashes is to do so across a body of water, such as a river, stream, lake or ocean. Public bodies of water don’t typically require a license or any special permissions to scatter cremated remains, however, you should be careful not to do so near an extraction point, or where people fish or swim. (Your local environmental agency should be able to help with this.) Keep in mind, also, that locations on or near the water can be windy, so be sure to check the conditions beforehand.
3. Scattering Ashes on Mountains/Hilltops
Hilltops and mountains can provide a beautiful setting in which to say goodbye. One thing to consider, however, is how ashes can impact plant life. While cremains are non-toxic, it’s still advisable to avoid scattering ashes where plant ecosystems are more fragile, such as on mountain peaks. Popular climbing areas can also make it difficult to find privacy. And, like bodies of water, mountains and hilltops can be windy, so keep this in mind when planning your ceremony.
4. Scatter Gardens
Typically located at a cemetery or crematorium, scatter gardens provide a lovely place for your loved one’s remains to spend eternity and a serene location to visit after the fact. These are areas designated specifically for the scattering of cremated remains. Every facility is different, but some offer additional ways to memorialize the deceased, including plaques, statues or plants, so that may also be an option.
5. Scattering Ashes at Sporting Venues
If your loved one was an avid sports fan, they may have requested that the scattering ceremony be held at their favorite stadium, complex or arena. Whether or not this is an option will ultimately depend on the specific policy of the facility in question. Your funeral director may be able to assist you in approaching the venue’s owner to ask permission.
One important thing to point out when it comes to scattering ashes is that there are certain rules and regulations surrounding the process. For instance, some locations require that advanced permission be granted, paperwork be completed and sometimes even licenses be obtained. Others may simply request notification in advance. It’s wise to check your state and local laws prior to making plans to avoid any unexpected and unpleasant surprises. This will enable you to memorialize and set your loved one free in peace.