Funeral trends come and go, but there’s a new one gaining traction in the US and where the US goes, we in the UK often follow…

Talking to Funeral Directors Daily, Diane Lange, the owner of Moonlight Tattoo in Ocean View, New Jersey, said that she has noticed a rapid rise in the number of people requesting cremation tattoos in the past six months.

A ‘cremation’ tattoo is where the deceased person’s ashes are used to create body art, allowing the mourner to carry around a bit of that person for ever more. A tiny bit, though as cremation tattoo artists blend in a very small amount of the ashes into the tattoo ink before applying it to their client.

Act more ‘symbolic’

One tattooist said that the human remains do not dissolve in the ink, so the act is more symbolic than anything else.

Some years ago, another fashion surfaced where jewellers used human remains to create jewellery items. One jeweller said that the “transient nature of today’s families” could be fuelling the desire for jewellery or tattoos, as they establish more “transportable” memorials that people can take wherever they go.

Funeral Director Daily said new kinds of memorialisation ideas were bound to come along and that social media and the internet accelerated changes in a way not seen before.

The cremation rate in the US has been increasing steadily, with the national average rate rising from 3.56 percent in 1960 to 53.1 percent in 2018, though that compares to roughly 77 percent in the UK in 2017. The rates vary wildly across states, with states in the west having the highest rates and those in the south, the lowest.

World-wide, Japan, Nepal and Thailand have the most cremations with a rate of over 95 percent, while countries with predominantly Catholic, Muslim or Eastern Orthodox countries have much lower rates because of religious sanctions on the practice.


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