Cremation is the combustion, vaporization and oxidation of cadavers to basic chemical compounds, such as gases, ashes and mineral fragments retaining the appearance of dry bone. Cremation may serve as a funeral or post-funeral rite as an alternative to the interment of an intact dead body in a coffin, casket or shroud. Cremated remains (aka "cremains" or simply, "ashes"), which do not constitute a health risk, may be buried or interred in memorial sites or cemeteries, or they may be retained by relatives and dispersed in various ways. Cremation is an alternative in place of burial or other forms of disposal in funeral practices. Some families prefer to have the deceased present at the funeral with cremation to follow; others prefer that the cremation occur prior to the funeral or memorial service.
In many countries, cremation is usually done in a crematorium. Some countries, such as India and Nepal, prefer different methods, such as open-air cremation.