Scattering Ashes: Traditional and Unique Ideas to Memorialise Your Loved One
When someone opts for cremation when they die, it is usually the norm for their family to receive their ashes in an urn or another secure container. While some people opt to keep an urn containing their loved one’s ashes at home or in a mausoleum, others may want to scatter the ashes in a meaningful place or do something a bit more fun, like turn the ashes into a piece of art. If your loved one flouted convention and led an adventurous life, we’ve also covered a few new unique and wacky ways to scatter their ashes.
What is the significance of scattering ashes?
Scattering ashes symbolises letting go, both spiritually and physically. As the final step in the cremation process, deciding where to scatter your loved one’s ashes or how to keep them is an important part of getting closure. For some people, scattering ashes in a meaningful place is a way to return their loved one to nature, or to leave a part of them in a place they really loved. Many religions include scattering ashes as a ceremonial part of funeral rites and believe that it symbolises constant rebirth and the neverending circle of life.
Friends and family coming together to scatter their loved one’s ashes can be a wonderful final step in honouring and remembering them. Some people like to have a ceremony, a prayer, or have everyone say a few words before scattering the ashes. You can get as creative as you like! But be mindful not to leave litter or scatter anything that is not biodegradable or could harm the natural environment.
Most people usually tell their family and friends where they would like their remains to be scattered. Our free funeral planning tool is a great way to save this wish.
Doing your research and being well prepared before deciding what to do with your loved one’s ashes is an important step, and should not be overlooked especially when it comes to legal and illegal places where remains can be scattered.
In this article we will outline:
Traditional places to scatter your loved one’s ashes
Unique and quirky places to scatter ashes
Where it’s legal to scatter ashes
How to get permission to scatter ashes
Traditional Places To Scatter Your Loved Ones Ashes
1. Private property
Private property, such as your garden or land, is one of the most popular places to scatter ashes. For most people, there’s nothing better than being laid to rest at home. If you love pottering around in your garden, or have warm memories in your family home, this might be the perfect option for you. You do not need permission to scatter ashes on land that you own in the UK.
2. The beach or sea
Another very popular choice is the beach, or other water bodies like lakes and rivers. Most beaches are public property, and so you don’t need permission to scatter ashes there. However, do choose a place that is quiet and away from busy areas. According to the Environmental Agency, anything else you scatter must be biodegradable, and you should stay at least one kilometre away from any water collection points. These rules are the same for lakes and rivers in the UK.
3. A meaningful place for the person
Many people tell their loved ones that they’d like their ashes scattered in a place that holds meaning for them. This may be an unconventional place like the home grounds of their favourite football club, or even Disney World! Remember, before scattering ashes at locations that are not public land, you must request for permission from the relevant authorities.
4. Public parks, forests and wooded areas
In the UK public parks are a wonderful place to scatter ashes. Make sure that you go there when it isn’t very busy or crowded.
Forests and woodlands are also a lovely place to scatter ashes if your loved one especially enjoyed nature. However, some wooded areas fall under private land so you must receive permission from the land owner before scattering ashes.
5. At a family grave
Scattering ashes on a family grave can be meaningful and keeping in tradition if this is something your family has been doing for generations. Do keep in mind that you must own the exclusive right of burial for the grave, or renew it if it has lapsed.
Some quirky and unique ways to scatter ashes
If the options above seem boring to you, you can make your dreams of travelling to space a reality, even in death. There are several companies in the UK that will send your ashes to near space, Aura Flights being one of them. Sending your ashes to space might be the most unique way to be remembered, and your friends and family will think of you every time they look up at the stars in the night sky. Some companies will even send you incredible photographs or video of the launch. Sending your ashes to space costs around £2950 but it promises to be the most memorable and coolest way to say goodbye.
2. In a firework
Want to go out with a bang? There are fireworks companies that will put your ashes inside a firework! Your friends and family can gather to say goodbye, ending with a cracking fireworks display. That will surely be a night to remember.
3. A place they wanted to visit
Is there a place you or your loved one has always wanted to visit but never got the chance? Scattering ashes in a place that your loved one always dreamed of going can be a magical way to fulfil one last wish, and say goodbye. This could also give the friends and family of the person to plan a trip together and make beautiful memories in a new place.
4. Return to nature
A very popular idea in recent years has been to mix ashes with soil and plant a memorial tree that will grow and thrive for years to come. Other ideas include mixing ashes with flower seeds and planting a flower garden. Make it even more special by mixing your loved one’s ashes with seeds of their favourite flower, or plant their tree in a garden they loved spending time in.
5. Keeping ashes in a special object or toy
More recently, many people have been switching up the containers for storing ashes rather than using boring urns. There are some creators who will incorporate ashes into teddy bears or personalise urns by painting and decorating them, making them unique to the person who died. Make it even more meaningful by placing the ashes inside their favourite stuffed toy from their childhood, or any other object that has special meaning for them.
6. Memorial diamonds
Turning ashes into diamonds has been a popular option for a while now. This can be expensive, with prices ranging from £500 to £19,000 [https://www.everdear.co.uk/cremation-diamonds-from-ashes/turning-ashes-into-diamond-cost] but this is one of the most permanent options that allows you to carry your loved one with you forever.
If you do want to keep ashes in a piece of jewellery, there are more affordable alternatives such as keeping them in a locket or mixed into a resin pendant. There are jewellery makers on sites like Etsy that offer personalised services like these.
7. A tattoo with ashes
Another way of keeping your loved one with you forever is to incorporate a tiny bit of ashes with tattoo ink. You can get a design that holds meaning for you and your loved one, and it’ll have a little more meaning with the ashes imprinted in your skin. These are called ritual tattoos and you can ask your local tattoo parlour if they offer the service. This is now legal in the UK, and the tattoo artist must use sterile, specially made Cremation Ink to avoid any unpleasant reactions.
8. Ashes into art
Did your loved one love art? Incorporating their ashes into a painting or even a piece of pottery or sculpture is a wonderful way to keep them close. You’ll think of them every time you look at the beautiful work of art in your home, making it even more meaningful.
9. Sky scattering
Sky scattering is a method of scattering ashes from a very high distance, sometimes from a hot-air balloon or helicopter. This method ensures that the ashes are carried away for a great distance, and could also be a fun activity for the loved ones of the deceased.
10. Divide the ashes
Can’t decide what to do? You could always divide the ashes and sprinkle them in more than one place, or keep a part of the ashes with you and scatter the rest. The choice is yours and there are no rules preventing you from doing this.
Where It’s Legal and How to Get Permission
It is legal to scatter ashes on private property owned by you.
National Trust land or historical places are a great option for scattering ashes. However, you will need to request permission to scatter ashes from the property manager of your chosen venue.
Some forest or wooded areas fall under private ownership, so you will need to ask for permission before scattering ashes.
Unique venues like Disney Land or sports stadiums might seem like a fun place to scatter your loved one’s ashes, especially if it’s a place that holds meaning for them. However, most theme parks, stadiums, and other privately owned places do not allow scattering of ashes on the premises. You must always ask for written permission beforehand.
Wherever you choose to scatter ashes, be sure to check with the Environmental Agency first. While it may be legal to scatter ashes in many places in the UK, some places such as some water bodies like rivers and lakes, certain beaches, some forest land, and some mountainsides may be adversely affected by foreign elements.
Make sure that you don’t scatter anything else that is not biodegradable
If you choose to scatter ashes near a lake or river, make sure you are not near any water extraction points.
If you wish to scatter ashes in a forest or woodland, check with The Woodland Trust.
Make sure you don’t scatter ashes near where animals graze.
Nowadays there are dozens of ways to scatter or keep your loved one’s ashes - both traditional and original. Always remember to seek the permission of the landowner before scattering ashes, as well as keeping in mind any environmental factors.
You can be as creative as you like. The sky's the limit - literally - when it comes to options for scattering ashes!
We hope these out-of-the-box ideas give you some inspiration to get talking and planning how you would like your ashes to be scattered! Remember, planning ahead is always important when it comes to decisions about our end-of-life options.
Already know where you’d like your ashes to be scattered or kept? You can add your wishes for where and how you would like your ashes to be spread or interred in our free funeral planning tool. Under “Create a Full Plan”, you can choose “cremation” under what type of service you’d like, and then specify in detail the place and other specifications for scattering your ashes. Having these details in place will ensure that your loved ones will know exactly what to do when the time comes, and that you can rest assured in the final meeting place of your choice.
You can add your funeral and end-of-life wishes for free noting down, burial or cremation and of course where you would like your ashes to be scattered. Get started here and don’t forget to share your wishes with loved ones!