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Cremation is a common bereavement practice for most individuals, especially in our land-scarce Singapore. The ashes and bone remains after cremation are usually kept inside an urn, then placed inside a columbarium. Even said so, some individuals may prefer unconventional ways, such as scattering the cremation ashes into the sea or a garden (we’ll discuss this topic more in another article).
In this article, we will explore the familiar places where people will store the ashes of their dearly departed. Before we touch on that, let’s delve into the process or procedures after cremation.
Collection of Cremation Ashes
Usually, after the cremation is complete at Mandai, the funeral services director and their team will collect the ash remains on behalf of the deceased family members. The collection of the cremation ashes can also happen on the same day if the cremation occurs in the morning.
The cremated bones and ashes will then be temporarily stored in an air-tight container and transported to the final resting place, usually a columbarium. The family members will be waiting for the funeral services team there. If it takes place in the afternoon, the collection will likely be on the following morning.
Urning and Niche Placement Process
Once at the columbarium, the funeral services director will advise the family members on
placing the cremation ashes into the urn. The director will explain each piece of cremated bone. Usually in the order from the bottom, hip, to the skull. Each family member or closed relative will take a bone piece (except for the skull) and place it into the urn. The bereavement staff will then crush the bone pieces carefully. They will then pour more cremated ashes into the urn.
The final bone piece (skull) represents precious memories of the deceased and will then be placed on top of everything. The spouse, the eldest child, or a senior relative usually put the skull piece. The urn is then permanently sealed with a strong cement bond. The urn will then be placed carefully inside the niche of the columbarium.
As it will take some time for the niche plaque (usually a month) to be ready, the urn will be placed inside the niche with a temporary protection cover. During this period, the family members can decorate the inside of the niche. Then when the plaque is ready, it will be placed permanently on the niche.
The Nirvana Columbarium Experience
At Nirvana Memorial Garden, the urn is placed in the An-Ling temple for 49 days (after death). During this period, Buddhist chants are played throughout the day. Buddhist monks and priests will also be present each day to bless the souls with their prayers.
It is essential to know that in Buddhist and Taoist beliefs, the soul after death is on the path to enlightenment (Nirvana) or rebirth into the next life.
This process will take 49 days. And each cycle of 7 days (7 cycles in total) is a crucial factor in determining the karmic outcome of the next life. Therefore, it is essential to send prayers to the deceased after death, especially in the next 49 days, so that the soul will find their way along the journey into the following year. The prayers will also protect the soul during their travels in the afterlife.
After 49 days, the urn is then kept inside the niche suites of Nirvana, Singapore. This added service gives Nirvana clients assurance and peace of mind that their dearly departed’s urns and afterlife journeys are well taken care of.
Standard practices of ashes storage in Singapore
Here are a few possible places for cremation ashes storage in Singapore.
The two public columbaria currently available to the public are Mandai Columbarium and Choa Chu Kang Columbarium. These two sites house the most significant number of niches in the country. The cost of the niche is affordable and budget-friendly. The only challenge is often for worshippers who do not have their own vehicle transport. It is especially so during busy periods such as Qing Ming Festival. Do expect crowds and traffic jams during the peak periods. The best option is to go during the early mornings when the site is less crowded.
At a premium, private columbariums like Nirvana Memorial Garden can provide quality facilities and services to enhance the convenience of the worshippers, even during peak periods. Air-conditioned niche suites, prayer halls, parlours, and lobbies give visitors a peaceful and comfortable environment. Nirvana columbarium is also situated in a good Feng Shui location. What it means to the deceased and their family members is that the good Feng Shui will be reflected in the living as good fortune and prosperity. As mentioned earlier, daily prayer rituals are also conducted in the An-Ling temple of Nirvana columbarium.
Temples and Religious columbarium
The other ash storage places are temples and other in-house columbariums for religious members. The rates at these places are usually costly due to space limitations. For private columbariums and temples, it is essential to check what is their remaining lease years. And whether they can renew their lease upon expiration. It will be very costly and a hassle if the urn is placed in a columbarium with a lease expiring within the next few years.
Some individuals will also place their deceased family member’s urns inside their residences. However, this requires permission from the authority. And it is essential to constantly clean and maintain the altar area. If all family members are to travel overseas, somebody needs to stay behind to maintain the altar. Therefore, placing an urn inside the residence is often not advisable.
During the funeral wake period, the family members must confirm the columbarium booking with the funeral services director. The funeral services team will help secure the columbarium niches on their behalf.
To not leave the burden to the family and to make one’s own decisions, an individual can also
pre-plan their columbarium niches. Just fix an appointment with a columbarium representative and take your time to select the final resting place.
For people who are more conscious about good Feng Shui locations, it is essential to book excellent niche locations early.
We hope you understand the procedure of cremation ashes storage in Singapore from this article. Please inform us if you have more questions about the pre-planning of niches in Nirvana Memorial Garden.