Scattering ashes can play an important role in the processing of grief after death, but there are many factors – both emotional and logistical – that can come into play when choosing a place to scatter them.
If the deceased has not left detailed instructions about where their remains should be laid, you may need to decide upon with ideas for scattering ashes – scattering ashes at sea, places of natural beauty or places of significance for the deceased are the most popular options. You may also wish to arrange a cremation service.
Coming up with location ideas for scattering ashes can be a tricky part of the process. If the location is outside of your current country (or if the person’s remains need to be brought home), you may need to engage a repatriation service. If you are scattering ashes abroad, you will need to check the regulations of that country. In Australia, taking ashes on a plane also needs to be planned.
In order to provide some assistance in what may be a difficult time, we’ve researched 5 of the world’s most scenic places for scattering ashes.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park is globally recognised as one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth. The park’s management recognise that many people want to scatter ashes within the park and allow it within some reasonable guidelines. Notify their Visitor Services of your intentions, stick to undeveloped areas and avoid scattering ashes in the thermal areas of the park. They also have altitude and distance guidelines should you wish to scatter the ashes from a plane.
Bay of Islands, New Zealand
The Bay of Islands is a sub-tropical cluster of around 140 islands off the east of New Zealand’s North Island – around four hours drive from Auckland. If choosing to scatter ashes here, it’s important to be mindful of the beliefs and lifestyle of the indigenous Maori people – who still frequently source their food from the waterways, land and beaches in the area. You must first consult the people of the land and use a site or waterway that has been approved.
Venice has been romanticised in everything from Shakespeare to modern films. Its canals are famous across the world and thus many people have wanted to scatter their ashes in the city. Until recently that was illegal – but that’s all about to change. A law will be passed next year that will allow (for a fee) the scattering of ashes in public places as well as the lagoon next to the city’s St Michael’s cemetery.
The Grand Canyon, Arizona
Many would claim the Grand Canyon to be one of the seven natural wonders of the modern world, and with good reason. At 1.5km deep and more than 400km long, it has been formed through six million years of geological change. Similar to Yellowstone, restrictions for scattering ashes are minimal – they simply ask that you notify park staff, stick to the undeveloped areas and do not leave memorials behind.
Macleod Island, Myanmar
Sitting just west of the southernmost tip of Myanmar in the Andaman Sea, Macleod Island could accurately be described as an island paradise. White sandy beaches, lush green forests and turquoise waters mean that this haven is becoming an increasingly popular destination for tourists. Whilst specific information about scattering ashes is hard to come by, cremations are common in Myanmar and fit within the local traditions. You should contact the Myanmar embassy in your country first to find out about scattering remains as a foreigner.
Scattering ashes can be difficult, but some basic research can prevent problems. To assist with taking some of the guesswork out of the equation, you would be well served to engage a funeral director.