Ashes

Tapestry producer Carma Jolly holds her uncle's ashes in the treasure chest her aunt bought at Dollarama.

Tapestry producer Carma Jolly holds her uncle's ashes in the treasure chest her aunt bought at Dollarama.

Listen

Season 18 : Episode 1

In a quiet but significant way, human ashes have affected us from ancient history to modern day life. People in all cultures face this question: what do we do with the ash? The differences tell us a lot about who we are and what we believe.

 

Segment One: Ashes to Azalias

Guest host Kevin Sylvester speaks to Daemon Fairless. His grandmother made a request before she died. She asked Daemon that her ashes be scattered in the beautiful Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. One problem. It's not allowed. Daemon shares his James Bond-esque tactics for fulfilling his grandmother's wish.

Segment Two: Ashes through the Ages

Professor Douglas Davies, co-editor of Encyclopedia of Cremation, gives us an in-depth analysis of the history of cremation. Roman emperors were burned in elaborate cremation ceremonies, but the advent of Christianity doused the flames. Many Hindu and Buddhist cultures still burn the dead, and see the flames and smoke as a link to a greater reality.

Segment Three: Stolen Memories

For Carol Lalonde, her late husband's ashes were her most beloved possession, a link to the man she'd spent her life loving. Then, on Christmas Eve, thieves broke into her home and stole the urn. Carol tells her story of her quest recover her deceased husband's ashes.

Segment Four: A Son's Journey

Pandit Roopnauth Sharma is a Hindu priest at the Ram Mandir  -- a temple in Mississauga, Ontario. Fifteen years ago, his father died in Canada. Pandit Sharma knew his duty, to release his father's ashes into a lake or river. Today, this practice is legal in much of Canada, but back then, Pandit Sharma was not sure what was allowed.  Nor was it clear to him where to find out.

You hear this show by clicking on 'Listen.' You can download it at our podcast page.


Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.