A shrouded cremation is one where a body is wrapped in a shroud for a cremation instead of being placed in a coffin. Since 2018 Shrouded Cremation has been available in Australia. First offered in Victoria and then in Tasmania, families now have the choice not to purchase a coffin when choosing a cremation for their person.
The first thing to consider is, what is a shroud?
The concept of shrouding is thousands of years old. The idea of using a shroud to cover a body is not a new concept, it has ALWAYS been an option. Returning to this shrouding practice now, in modern times is a kind of reclaiming of the lost knowledge our community once had, about how to care for our dead.
In its simplest form, a shroud is a cover that is used to wrap around a corpse. In the past, it has not always been cloth used to wrap a corpse; sometimes animal skins, barks and leaves etc have been used. The material is tucked and wrapped around the body, like a cocoon, a comforting enclosure.
Even in Australia, shrouds have been used for the burial of bodies for generations. Various cultural communities practice their traditional burial rites and shrouds are a big part of their ritual and ceremony. In Jewish traditions, the shrouds are hand stitched robes, made of a simple white cloth or in orthodox Judaism it is a tunic, pants and a belt sewn with sacred symbols. In the Muslim tradition, they will use a white cloth or cloth made from a simple natural fibre like unbleached calico. The Bahai wrap their dead in 5 pieces of pure white silk as their shrouding of choice.
Some shrouds can have a pocket, or a series of them, sewn into the garment that contain treasures, maybe letters to the deceased, small mementos that mean the world to them in life that they – or you – want to accompany them in death. There are few restrictions and none of them relate to the shroud itself. These days, many companies have created a range of different types of shrouds for the commercial market. There are fancy ones advertised with built in backboards to make carrying the body easier and others that have sewn loops which carry rails can be threaded through for the same reason. There is no regulation about this at all. A shroud can be a bed sheet.
What is a shrouded cremation?
When a body is placed within a cremator, in most cases it is required to be on a hard, flat base because the body will enter the cremator on rollers. To address this issue, some coffin makers have developed what is called ‘a shroud bearer’ or ‘shroud carriage’. They have been designed with a hard, flat base, handles for manoeuvrability and made of various materials like wood, cardboard, wicker etc.
Shroud bearers and shroud carriages are an affordable option, they can be purchased for only a few hundred dollars. They can be used as a coffin would for transport in a suitable vehicle meaning no additional purchase is necessary.
WHICH FUNERAL HOMES OFFER A SHROUDED CREMATION?
Mary Eleanor Natural Care
If you have an update or a new crematorium offering shrouded cremation that can be added please get in touch .