About 3,000 are made each year.
The cremation industry in our country is progressing slowly, business-wise and socially.
Despite the publicity that this specific procedure receives from time to time, due to the fact that various famous people increasingly choose to leave completely in this way, the percentage of the deceased who are finally cremated in Greece still remains small.
It is characteristic that in the year 2023, and four years after the start of the operation of the crematorium in the Ritsona area, only 2.7% of the deceased annually end up being cremated, with a slightly higher percentage of those whose relatives choose to cremate their bones after exhumation. Therefore, the “turnover”, taking into account the proportions, of the specific market does not exceed, without calculating the costs of the procedures on the part of the funeral offices, 2 million euros every year.
Relatives of the deceased are usually in favor of this option in order to avoid expenses for keeping bones, etc.
It is worth noting that according to information from BusinessNews.gr, the cost of cremation is ultimately less than burial, especially if the costs of the following years are calculated, but also of the monument that needs to be built for the cemetery, while the amount received by the crematorium it is 600 euros, not counting the expenses for relatives’ coffee, etc.
Besides, all funeral homes in the Greek territory have from the first moment included in their services the provision of the possibility of cremation, which does not differ in general from the traditional burial process, apart from the fact that the coffin with the deceased does not end up in the ground , but in the crematorium room for burning.
This means that the Ritsonas crematorium, after consultation with the family, can organize a meal or coffee for the relatives of the deceased, at prices that vary depending on what the family wants. A coffee with cognac and a nut costs on average about 4 euros per person, while in the case of organizing a meal, this can reach up to 30 euros per person, with the price being determined in relation to the family’s requirements.
The president of the Ritsona Crematorium and the Hellenic Cremation Society talks to businessnews.gr about cremation and how it is developing in the country Antonis Alakiotis. “The percentage of the deceased in Greece that ends up being cremated is still very small, noting that since 2019 when the process began in Greece, there has been a small increase, from 2.25 to 2.7%. There are two reasons why it cannot increase this percentage radically and will not rise in the future: First, the fact that although the deceased may have expressed such a wish while alive, eventually his widow or relatives decide to proceed with burial and secondly why in Greece, as and in other Balkan countries, we are still largely guided, especially in such matters concerning the church, by religion, so we cannot actually be sure of the true percentage of people who wish to be cremated, but when that time comes, their relatives decide to bury them”.
According to Mr. Alakiotis, in fact, there are not a few times that while it was initially agreed to cremate a deceased person, it is eventually canceled. at the last moment. “There are definitely 6-7 such incidents a week,” he says.
Besides, the situation in nearby countries, which are also influenced by religion, is no different than in Greece in terms of cremation. In Romania, the cremation of the dead has been taking place since 1949. However, even today, 74 years later, only 1.5% of the deceased in the country are cremated. At the same time in Bulgaria, even though cremation has been the norm for 100 years, only 6.5% of the dead are taken to the crematorium every year.
According to the estimates of Mr. Alakiotis, about 3,000 deceased are taken to the crematorium every year on average, while the process is now undertaken by all funeral homes in Greece, i.e. 600 small and medium enterprises, which in recent years have had to open to a slightly different market.
According to Mr. Alakiotis, the recent publicity that cremation has received has contributed to a degree to the increase in the growth rate of this particular market, but as he emphasizes, no spectacular increase is foreseen in the coming years. “I believe that in the next decade, this percentage will rise at most, 0.30 – 0.35%”.
The President of the Association of Funeral Home Owners (SIGTEP) Thodoris Pitsirikos gives his own side to the growing trend for cremation, speaking to BusinessNews.gr: “It is a trend that is constantly increasing compared to the past, that is, before the crematorium opened in Ritsona and it is a process that we also recommend to our customers, given the saturated and difficult situation that now exists in the cemeteries of Attica, where we operate. In fact, now 15% of the clients we work with are cremators, compared to 0.010% in previous years, when cremations could only be done abroad. I think that apart from some issues with religion, there are many people who wish to bury themselves or their relatives in this way, in order to avoid unpleasant situations during the three years of exhumation stipulated by the law”.
About the development of cremation in Greece, BusinessNews.gr is also posted by the owner of Kyriakidis Funeral Home, Mr. George Kyriakidis. As he notes, “it’s something we’ve been asked more and more for in the last two years. I would estimate that since 2019 when the crematorium in Ritsona started, it is more than 60% of these relatives who request cremation, while there are also wishes from the side of the deceased, when they are still alive”.
According to the predictions of Mr. Kyriakidis, “in the coming years I believe that cremation will register an even greater increase, because it is much more economical over the years, as it does not burden the relatives financially and there are many who are aware in relation to its benefits for the environment”.
A second crematorium is under construction in Heraklion, Crete
Although, according to Mr. Alakiotis, the number of those who died by cremation does not directly justify the presence of a second crematorium in Greece, a few days ago, the creation of another such place was announced.
More specifically, four years after the opening of the crematorium in Ritsona, the second crematorium is expected to be created in Crete, specifically in Heraklion.
According to information from BusinessNews.gr, the mayor, Vassilis Lambrinos, and the representative of the contractor company already proceeded to sign a contract for the construction study of the incinerator of the Municipality of Heraklion in the previous days.
According to what has become known, the object of the contract is the design and preparation of all the necessary studies for the construction of the Cremation Center of the Municipality of Heraklion, on a property that has been selected for this purpose in the area of Nea Alikarnassos.
The duration of the contract is twelve months with funding from the Municipality’s own resources.