Pärnu cemetery makes space for dignified scattering of ashes

The new zone for scattering ashes located at Pärnu Metsakalmistu.
The new zone for scattering ashes located at Pärnu Metsakalmistu. Source: ERR

A new memorial corner at a cemetery in Pärnu attempts to address the issue of what to do with ashes of the deceased, particularly if they have no known or close relatives or friends, or, for instance, if family live abroad.

Pärnu Deputy Mayor Irina Talviste told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) that: "There are also those who do actually have family members, but they are not right here, and live abroad, for example. The problem then is taking care of a grave," adding that it might be the case that relatives cannot do this from afar."

The first ashes scattered at the new facility were those of a person who had died at a nearby nursing home, but had no known close relatives.

The site is in a quiet corner of the Pärnu Metsakalmistu cemetery, and minimizes the need to wander around headstones which, AK reports, unsettles some people.

Piret Unn, chief public order specialist at Pärnu city government, who scouted out the site, said: "When I started examining Pärnu graveyards, to find out where the most suitable site might be, it became apparent that this location was ideal," adding that there are places to sit, and to place flowers and candles.

The zone cost €68,000 to develop.

No specific law addresses the issue of unclaimed ashes, with other possible solutions being scattering them at sea.

Buring them in an urn on land is viable if there is a free site available.

An additional factor is the surge in the number of cremations in Estonia, and the concomitant fall in casket or coffin burials.

The site was designed by Kati Niibo of Hüüp and was constructed by Läänekivi, while monument and nameplate details were created by Andre Reklaam.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marko Tooming

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