In southern Europe, cremations are slowly gaining favor . Traditionally countries, with strong Catholic or Orthodox backgrounds, like Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal have buried the deceased. However, times are changing with Greece recently opening its first crematorium and Portugal now on its way to building its fifth, in the popular province of Algarve.
Algarve’s first crematory will be operational in Faro in September 2020. Algarve is a region in Portugal that is well known for its beautiful beaches and almost year round sunshine that attracts hordes of central and northern European tourists.
While it is a great step forward, it wasn’t an option that came easily for the 426,841 people that call Algarve home. The Faro’s City council approval of the crematory has taken over 10 years.
The city’s mayor Rogério Bacalhau, explained: “We have had some difficulty with the funerals. Our old Esperança Cemetery is overcrowded. Turnover has occurred, but we are talking between four and five years. At one point we had to dig pits between three and a half to four years old, for lack of capacity.Right now, with the work we have done here in the new cemetery, there will be much more space for graves, this problem has been minimized. But if we do not have the crematorium, we will have to further increase the capacity,”
The new crematory will have two cremating furnaces, one for funerary cremations and one to burn waste materials of cemeteries in the area. According to Paulo Carvalho, director of projects and assets of Servilusa, these were traditionally buried as open-air burning is strictly prohibited.
The opening of this crematory is another step that will enable the Portugal death care industry to offer more diversity to their customers. Southern European countries are changing their mindsets on cremation because of the lack of space available for traditional burials and the upcoming forecast of an ageing society.