Skip to content
water burial

Water Burial or Water Scattering?

A water burial or water scattering is a ceremony where you scatter the cremated ash of your deceased loved one onto the water. Water burials are very common and hold deep significance across cultures. Water’s cyclical and life-giving nature makes it a meaningful place to lay a departed loved one to rest. If your departed loved one requested a water burial, or if it means something to you, it’s now time to plan. Water scatterings can be a solo event or performed with a large group of friends and family. If you can, ask others to help (or take over) planning the water burial. Otherwise, keep it as simple as you need to.

water burial

A major decision you might want to make is choosing the urn. When holding a water burial or a water scattering, the urn you choose is a significant decision. Scattering on the water can be deceptively tricky, so choosing the best water burial urn for your ceremony will help make it a success.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Water Burial Urn

water burial urn

1. Do you want to keep any of the ashes?

Before you do any scattering with your urn, consider whether you (or other family members) want to keep some of the cremation ashes. It is common to scatter some cremated remains while reserving a portion for display in an urn. And, with small keepsake urns, you only need a small amount of ash. These urns also make it possible for more people to have a portion of cremation ash for display and remembrance.

You could also choose a traditional display urn, a more modern urn, or a planter urn to hold the rest of your loved one’s ashes. Whatever your style, there is a display urn that’s right for your home. Of course, it’s also perfectly acceptable to scatter all of their remains at the water burial.

2. Will your urn keep your loved ones remains secure during transport?

Choose an urn that will safely hold your loved one’s ashes until it’s time for the water burial. Transporting the cremated remains securely is also essential. It would be a disaster if mom or dad spilled out into the car (a recoverable catastrophe, to be sure, but one best avoided). Choosing an urn with a secure top and a safe carrying case is best to prevent potential mishaps.

3. What kind of urn do you want?

There are two ways of scattering your loved one’s ashes on the water. The first is to do a traditional scattering by pouring or shaking the ashes out of a scattering urn onto the water. This is traditionally what you see in movies and television. The second way is to use a biodegradable urn that dissolves in the water. With the biodegradable urn, there’s no risk of your departed beloved’s cremation ash being caught by the wind, which is the riskiest part of a water burial. Of course, many people have successful water burials using a traditional scattering urn, but the risk remains.

Many people choose biodegradable urns that release the ashes under the water to solve this problem. The Eco Water Urn from The Living Urn is an excellent choice for your water burial. This elegant, biodegradable urn scatters cremation ash with dignity and ease, which is the goal of your water scattering. To protect the urn during transport, it comes with a beautiful bamboo case that you can use on the day of the water burial. The Eco Water urn floats upright, like a buoy, for a few minutes while the bottom dissolves and scatters the ashes safely into the water. The urn will likely continue to float for a short time before breaking down and sinking into the water.

4. Do you want to scatter anything else with the ashes?

If you’re using a biodegradable urn, a popular choice is to float a wreath of flowers (perhaps your loved one’s favorites or favorite colors) with the urn in the center. Wreaths embody the symbolism of the circle, which represents the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Using a wreath is a beautiful way to honor and memorialize your departed loved one. Measure your urn first and tell your florist to make this tribute a success. It’s also common for guests to toss flowers, like roses, into the water. Handwritten messages to the departed loved one on biodegradable paper are also often cast into the water along with the ashes.

If you’re not using a biodegradable urn and are doing a traditional scattering, you may still want a wreath and flowers to cast onto the water. A special note for ocean water scatterings: everything thrown into the water must be biodegradable. Single flowers are acceptable, but wire-wrapped wreaths are not. Many florists can make biodegradable wreaths for water burials upon request.

Previous article Biodegradable Urns - 2024 Comprehensive Guide