What You Should Know About Ash Scattering Ceremonies

What You Should Know About Ash Scattering Ceremonies

When a loved one passes away, it’s natural to want to commemorate his life, and ash scattering ceremonies are a great way to do that. However, there is a whole list of things to prepare. First, you should decide on a location. The venue for your ceremony dictates the regulations you must follow or permits you must obtain. Also, there are different types of ash scattering services; here are three of the most popular.

Casting Ceremony

A casting ceremony involves throwing the cremated remains into the wind, dispersing it across land or water. This ceremony provides a symbolic feeling of letting go; it feels like you’re releasing your loved one to explore this place that you have chosen. In this type of service, you must release the ashes downwind, so consider that when planning.

Water Ceremony

For this kind of ceremony, you must transfer the remains to a water-soluble urn, which you submerge in a lake, pond, river, or ocean. It will only take a few minutes for the urn to dissolve and for the ashes to release into the water. Note that there are many regulations and permits you must obtain for this kind of ceremony. Contact your local agencies before planning services like these.

Raking Ceremony

Yet another kind you could have is a raking ceremony. For this one, you spread the remains across the ground or on a garden, and you rake the ashes gently through the soil, so it disperses. There are scattering gardens specifically for these ceremonies; guests can take turns sharing memories of the deceased during the raking.

Where can I have scattering ceremonies?

When you hold an ash scattering ceremony, you need to speak with your local municipality or agency to ensure that you’re not violating bylaws when you scatter the remains. Though there isn’t any organization policing or overseeing these ceremonies, you need to obtain proper permits for them. Here are general guidelines for specific places.

When holding a ceremony on private property

You can scatter ashes on your private property without securing any permits. However, if it is someone else’s, you need to obtain written permission before you can.

When the ceremony is in a public space

Meanwhile, if you wish to scatter ashes in a public place, you must obtain a scattering permit from your local municipality. As for uncontrolled public lands, there are no regulations; however, you must use your best judgment. Scatter ashes at least a hundred yards away from trails or public roads.

When the ceremony is over waterways

You may or may not be allowed to scatter ashes on certain bodies of water legally. The EPA or Environmental Protection Agency says that people can spread remains on the ocean provided that they release the ashes at least three nautical miles from shore, and by boat or plane. You must also contact the EPA within 30 days of the ceremony. For inland bodies of water, you have to speak with the local agency with jurisdiction over the area; some states heavily regulate or prohibit water scatterings.


One of the most beautiful memorials you can hold for a loved one is an ash scattering ceremony. The act of spreading ashes could be a meaningful, beautiful way of finding closure and releasing the memory of the dearly departed.

Celebrate your loved ones’ life and memory at Evergreen. We are a funeral home, crematory, and cemetery in Jacksonville, FL, giving you the convenience of having one location for your arrangements. Get in touch with us today for more information.

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