Fireworks Offer Unique Send Off for Cremation Ashes
For those whose loved one’s favorite holiday was the Fourth of July, was a veteran or just wanted to “go out with a bang,” cremation fireworks may be something to explore. But, despite the popularity of the idea, it isn’t easy to do currently in the U.S.
In perhaps its most famous use, “gonzo journalist” Hunter S. Thompson’s ashes were blown into the sky with a deafening boom from a 153-foot tower in 2005.
Cremation fireworks, also known as memorial fireworks, use a small portion of cremation remains (about three tablespoons) which are loaded into a shell and then launched in a short fireworks display. They can be part of a professional show or purchased as a “self-fired” kit for home use.
It is not a common practice in the U.S., according to end of life planning site, Cake, but is more popular in the U.K. where several competing companies offer cremation firework displays and have clever names like Heavens Above and Heavenly Stars.
The interest in cremation fireworks was rekindled after a running gag appeared in a recent movie, but very few funeral homes in the U.S. offer the service outside of Springfield, Missouri (a former Los Angeles-based business called Angels Flight is apparently no longer open). However, some fireworks manufacturers may offer the service, like this one in Ohio.
Some famous funerals have taken the idea even a step farther by sending cremated remains into space, like Star Trek’s “Scotty” who was “beamed up” in 2012.
Creating cremation fireworks is just one of the many creative things you can do with “cremains” including making diamonds or getting a tattoo. And, a fireworks show is just one of the many ways to have a happy gathering.
As is true with scattering remains in the traditional way, you’ll want to make sure to seek permission from the landowner if you are on private property and check local laws if you are on public lands or parks. You may need a permit if you are in a national park, for example. And of course, local laws regarding fireworks will be important to research and obey.
Because this is a relatively uncommon practice in the U.S., you’ll want to plan ahead, do some research and make your wishes known to friends and family.
As we celebrate all that Independence Day represents, we wish you the freedom to plan the type of send-off that best represents you.
Photo by Edewaa Foster