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Honoring a Life with an Ash Scattering Ceremony

Honoring a Life with an Ash Scattering Ceremony

River at sunset

An ash scattering ceremony can be a beautiful and meaningful way to say goodbye to a loved one after cremation. As a final goodbye, the ritual of scattering can be cathartic, and help families and friends ‘let go’ of the physical being of their loved one, lay them to rest, and begin the journey of healing.

An ash scattering ceremony can take place as part of a memorial service or be planned as a separate event at any time after services. We have helped families plan ash scattering ceremonies directly after a funeral, as well as years after their loved one passed. It can be an intimate, family-only event or include as many people as you’d like to participate. Your ceremony can take place at Miller-Jones’ beautiful facilities or in a place that holds significance for you and your loved ones.

Ideas for a Personalized Ceremony

An ash scattering ceremony, like a funeral or memorial service, can incorporate as many personal elements as you’d like. Below are some ideas to include in a ceremony. One of our funeral directors can help you create a meaningful event tailored just for your loved one.

  • Play music the deceased loved
  • Read a poem
  • Have guests each tell their favorite memory or words of goodbye
  • Light candles or release paper lanterns
  • A moment of silence or prayer
  • Plant a tree or flowers
  • Mix in wildflower seeds with the cremated remains
  • Release doves or butterflies
  • Arrange for fireworks or light sparklers
  • Have a toast with the deceased’s drink of choice

Where to scatter?

Miller-Jones provides a beautiful final resting place for families to hold their ceremony and scatter their loved one’s ashes. However, many families prefer to scatter ashes in a place that held special meaning for their loved one. Wherever you choose to release a loved one’s remains, make sure you have permission and the appropriate permits. Miller-Jones can help you choose the right place and secure permission if necessary. Some popular places near Hemet and Moreno Valley include:

  • Private property – you can scatter on your own land, or on another’s with their permission.
  • Public land – California has beautiful national parks, and again, permission must be obtained before a scattering ceremony can take place.
  • At a lake – There are several beautiful lakes near Menifee and Lakeview at which a ceremony can take place
  • Out at sea – Scattering in the ocean is a popular choice for families in California. Scattering must take place at least three nautical miles from shore.

Things to Keep in Mind

There are a few things to keep in mind when planning an ash scattering ceremony:

  • Again, if you plan on scattering ashes on private property, it's wise to receive written permission from the owner. 
  • You should not scatter ashes within 100 yards of public roads or trails.  
  • The cremation container or urn must be disposed of separately and in an environmentally safe manner. 
  • For ash scattering done at sea, the Environmental Protection Agency requires that you notify the regional office in writing within 30 days after the event. 
  • Scattering ashes in inland waters is governed by the Clean Water Act. It's important to obtain a permit from the appropriate agency beforehand. 
  • Any flowers or wreaths used in an ash scattering ceremony held at sea must decompose. No plastic flowers or other non-decomposable items should be left behind. 
  • Ashes aren’t actually ashes, but resemble coarse sand. The cremated remains that are returned to a family are actually bone fragments that have been finely processed to resemble ashes.

Reach out to us at any time to learn more about ash scattering ceremonies and how we can help you plan one tailored to your loved one and your family’s needs. Call (951) 658-3161 or send us a note on our contact page