Polémique dans le village autour d’un crématorium (L’Express, 5 juillet 2010).

Le convoi sortira de chez sa fille, 4B, rue Edwin Ythier, Rose-Hill demain le 5 novembre à 9.00 a.m. pour se rendre à l’église Notre Dame de Lourdes et, de là, au Palma Crematorium pour la crémation. (Le Mauricien, 4 novembre 2009).

« Cela fait plusieurs mois que nous avons attiré l’attention des autorités sur l’état lamentable de notre crématorium et du cimetière mais rien n’a changé », c’est ce [que] déclare Manoj Ramroop, président des forces vives du village. (L’Express, 22 juin 2010).

Notre plus grand problème demeure la foire. C’est une véritable pagaille chaque dimanche. Nous avons suggéré l’installation d’obstacles, la construction d’un espace vert, la construction d’un nouveau terrain de football pour libérer celui qui se trouve à côté de l’école primaire. Cette école se trouve dans un état de délabrement et les toilettes sont dans un mauvais état. Il n’y a aucun club de troisième âge et les vieux se réunissent sous des arbres. Il n’y a aucun abribus. L’état du crématorium du village se détériore et j’en passe. (L’Express, 27 juin 2005.)




Religious views on cremation


Islam categorically disapproves cremation.

Indian religions

The Indian religions, such as Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism, mandate open-air cremation. In these religions, the body is seen as an instrument to carry the soul.


Balinese Hinduism is widely divergent from the Indian Hindu orthodoxy. As such, most practices of the Indian Hindu « mainstream » are ignored and abandoned, especially regarding the use of butter. Balinese Hindu dead are generally buried for a period of time, which may exceed one month or more, so that the cremation ceremony (Ngaben) can occur on an auspicious day in the Balinese-Javanese Calendar system (« Saka »). Additionally, if the departed was a court servant, member of the court or minor noble, the cremation can be postponed up to several years to coincide with the cremation of their Prince. Balinese funerals are very expensive and the body may be interred until the family can afford it or until there is a group funeral planned by the village or family when costs will be less. The purpose of burying the corpse is for the decay process to consume the fluids of the corpse, which allows for an easier, more rapid and more complete cremation.

Roman Catholicism

The Roman Catholic Church’s discouragement of cremation stemmed from several ideas: first, that the body, as the instrument through which the sacraments are received, is itself a sacramental, holy object; second, that as an integral part of the human person, it should be disposed of in a way that honors and reverences it, and many early practices involved with disposal of dead bodies were viewed as pagan in origin or an insult to the body; and third, that it constituted a denial of the resurrection of the body. Cremation was forbidden because it might interfere with God’s ability to resurrect the body.


Protestant churches were much more welcoming of the use of cremation and at a much earlier date than the Catholic Church; pro-cremation sentiment was not unanimous among Protestants, however. The first crematoria in the Protestant countries were built in 1870s (…)


On the other hand, some branches of Christianity oppose cremation, including some minority Protestant groups and Orthodox. Most notably, the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches forbid cremation.


Judaism traditionally disapproved of cremation in the past (it was the traditional means of disposing the dead in the neighboring Bronze Age cultures). It has also disapproved of preservation of the dead by means of embalming and mummifying, a practice of the ancient Egyptians. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, as the Jewish cemeteries in many European towns had become crowded and were running out of space, cremation became an approved means of corpse disposal amongst the Liberal Jews. Current liberal movements like Reform Judaism still support cremation, although burial remains the preferred option. The Orthodox Jews have maintained a stricter line on cremation, and disapprove of it as Halakha (Jewish law) forbids it.


The Bahá’í Faith forbids cremation, except when required by law.

Traditionally, Zoroastrianism disavows cremation or burial to preclude pollution of fire or earth. The traditional method of corpse disposal is through ritual exposure in a « Tower of Silence », but both burial and cremation are increasingly popular alternatives.

Neo-Confucianism under Zhu Xi strongly discourages cremation of one’s parents’ corpses as unfilial.





12 réponses à “Crématoire

  1. A. J. P. Crown

    Sig, slightly off-topic, but you’re a structural engineer, do you get to blow shit up?

    Just wondering.

  2. A. J. P. Crown

    I’m an atheist who’s opposed to cremation (cremation of myself, anyway). There are so many more creative things that could be done with a dead body besides burning it, it seems like such a waste.

  3. Siganus K.

    AJP: do you get to blow shit up?

    Do you mean to be involved in demolition work? Yes, it does happen, but it’s never big enough for the engineers to give instructions on the matter: the contractor just gets in with a big machine and pulls everything down before carting away — end of story.
    Isn’t it you who wanted to be buried sitting on a chair with your head sticking out of the ground and encased in a jar? (It sounds barely believable.)

    By the way, in case you’re interested, you could try one type of Madagascan burial in which your relatives would unearth your bones at regular intervals, put them in a clean piece of cloth and carry you around the village with a lot of singing and dancing… The Indian religions, such as Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism, mandate open-air cremation (Wikipedia): this is not quite true anymore. Nowadays many cremations during which a (Hindu) pandit or a pussari performs the funeral rites take place at a crematorium (in the sense given by the Free Dictionary quoting Collins: “a building in which corpses are cremated”).

  4. A. J. P. Crown

    Poor bear. I didn’t know there were bears in Florida, I was always watching out for alligators.

    Last year, my uncle’s funeral was at a quite nice crematorium (in England). When the coffin passed behind the curtain at the end of the short service I imagined it being consumed by the flames inside a gas-fired furnace — but no, we subsequently saw the black-suited bearers round the back of the building, driving off with the coffin to some other spot where the actual burning took place. We had been in a symbolic crematorium, nothing actually got done there. I didn’t like to dwell on this with my relatives at the time, so I never found out the reason; but it could be that some people find an actual cremation too upsetting to witness.

  5. Siganus K.

    but it could be that some people find an actual cremation too upsetting to witness

    Traditionally women do not attend cremations. They stay at home while the men go to the place where dead people are usually cremated, and among them, most importantly, the sons of the deceased.

    Strangely enough, very often the ceremony (or what takes place during the cremation) is commonly referred to as “a burial”, i.e. “enn lenterman”. For instance someone would say “mo bizin al enn lenterman dimin” (I need to go to a burial tomorrow) when the said burial is a cremation.


    A link in the newsletter received in my mailbox today at 18h40:
    New Scientist

    Dissolving your earthly remains will protect the Earth

    11:04 19 August 2010 by Wendy Zukerman

    Want to leave a light footprint on this Earth when you die? Perhaps you should consider « aquamation », a new eco-alternative to burial and cremation.

    With land for burials in short supply and cremation producing around 150 kilograms of carbon dioxide per body – and as much as 200 micrograms of toxic mercury – aquamation is being touted as the greenest method for disposing of your mortal remains.

    The corpse is placed into a steel container and potassium is added, followed by water heated to 93 °C. The flesh and organs are completely decomposed in 4 hours, leaving bones as the only solid remains.

    This is similar to what’s left after cremation, where the « ashes » are in fact bones hardened in the furnace and then crushed.


  6. A. J. P. Crown

    Potassium soup? It doesn’t sound very green (except possibly literally), but I’m no chemist.

  7. Siganus K.

    No, it doesn’t, unless it’s radio-active maybe, in which case it might glow green in the dark. I’m not sure either that your relatives would like to attend your “aquamation”, no matter how green the process is.

  8. Essentially the body fat will undergo potassium/sodium metathesis, turning into soap and dissolving in the hot water. You could even use Uncle Elbert to wash your dishes.

  9. No, uncle Elbert used to break at least one glass every time he washed the dishes. He was so clumsy, poor thing.

    John, I wouldn’t like to indulge into any type of Godwin-related discussion, but wouldn’t there be anything nazi in what you are saying above ? (I can’t remember if human beings were used that way during WWII or not.)

  10. Such rumors were widespread during both World War I and World War II, but apparently mostly without foundation. The Nazis did create some soap from human fat experimentally, but nothing on any industrial scale, according to Wikipedia. (There’s a French article too, but less detailed.)

    I can’t find any details on the actual chemical basis of the alkaline hydration process. However, about 10% of the body mass will survive in the form of fully hydrated bones, and it’s not clear what you do with 7-8 kg of full-sized bones afterwards. Per contra, the modern cremation process desiccates and pulverizes the bones so that only 2-3kg of grit remains; it is usually called « ashes » in English but is not actually a combustion product.

  11. Siganus Sutor

    it’s not clear what you do with 7-8 kg of full-sized bones afterwards

    Hmmm… it’s tempting to propose a few options, but I’m afraid the discussion might start to go overboard.

  12. A. J. P. Crown

    I was thinking the same thing.

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