As cremations in Stroudsburg, PA and beyond become more and more popular, many people wonder where it all began.
Historians believe that humans started burning their dead as early as 3000 B.C, meaning cremation began a long time ago. Archeologists have discovered pottery shards and urns that dictate that cremation started spreading across northern Europe, Spain, Portugal and the British Isles during the Bronze Age, from 2500 to 1000 B.C. It wasn’t until Homer’s time, around 800 B.C, that cremation became the most common disposition method. This rise in cremation is most likely due to the prevalence of war and disease-related deaths.
By 395 A.D, when the Roman Empire was at its peak, cremation was widely practiced, and people stored the ashes in elaborate urns like we do today. However, the early Christians disapproved of cremation because of their traditional Jewish practices. Therefore, when Constantine made Christianity the official Roman religion in 400 A.D, the cremation almost disappeared in favor of traditional burial.
Cremation as we know it didn’t pop up again until1873 when an Italian professor displayed his new cremation chamber model at the Vienna Exposition. His new invention jump-started the cremation revolution on both sides of the Atlantic, and the the first modern cremation chamber in the United States was built in Washington, Pennsylvania in 1876 by Dr. Julius LeMoyne, with the second not far behind in Lancaster, PA in 1884. Soon, crematories were being built all across the US, and by the year 1900 there were 20 in operation.
The practice took off even more when, in 1913, Dr. Hugo Erichsen started the Cremation Association of America as way to spread to word about this modern way of safely and hygienically disposing of bodies. The foundation was originally made up of doctors with concerns about the spread of diseases from whole-body burials to living humans. This belief and the foundation continued to foster cremation popularity until the 1920s when it was proven that whole body burials, when done properly, were just as safe for the public’s health as cremations.
After that discovery, the Cremation Association of America switched gears and began promoting cremation not as a health requirement but rather as a memorial preference. The foundation changed its name to Cremation Association of North America (CANA), in 1975, and is still around today.
Cremation has been becoming more and more popular since the 1980s in America and around the world. This rise is due to a number of factors such as cost, environmental concerns, creativity, religion and more. While traditional burial is still the most commonly seen disposition method, studies show that might soon change. According to CANA, there were over 2,100 crematories in use in the US in 2009 performing over 9,000 cremations a year, and the number is still going up.
Cremation Specialist of Pennsylvania, Inc. is continuing this long cremation tradition. We offer Stroudsburg, PA cremations from 728 Main St Avoca, PA 18641. Please give us a call today at (844) 427-3672 if you want to learn more about our services, or if you have any questions about cremation in general.