Cremation is the use of high-temperature burning, vaporization, and oxidation to reduce dead animal or human bodies, to basic chemical compounds, such as gases and mineral fragments retaining the appearance of dry bone. Cremation may serve as a funeral or post-funeral rite that is an alternative to the interment of an intact dead body in a coffin or casket. Cremated remains, which do not constitute a health risk, may be buried or interred in memorial sites or cemeteries, or they may be legally retained by relatives and dispersed in various ways. Cremation is not an alternative to a funeral, but rather an alternative to burial or other forms of disposal.
In many countries, cremation is usually done in a crematorium, but other countries prefer different methods, such as open-air cremation in India and in Nepal.