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What You Need to Know about Columbarium Niches

Published: November 19, 2019

This month, we’ve provided a high-level overview of columbarium niches to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you or your loved one.

What is a columbarium?

A columbarium is a room, building, or wall that is designated for the interment of the ashes of people who have died and been cremated. The term “columbarium” comes from the Latin "columba," meaning dove because columbaria usually have niches to hold the urns that resemble those in dovecotes, or dove houses. Columbariums have been around for centuries, dating back as far as Roman times.

What is a columbarium niche?

Columbarium niches, or cremation niches, are the compartments within the columbarium that hold a person’s cremated remains. Niches may vary in size but are typically large enough to hold at least one urn or other container of ashes. There is also typically a plaque and a place to include flowers or memorial items.

Columbariums also come in several forms. The structure can be a free-standing wall, either in a cemetery or other outside location. Or, it could be located inside a building, such as a church or a mausoleum.

Why use a columbarium niche?

There are several great reasons to use a columbarium niche for yourself or a loved one. If you would rather have a dedicated resting place for your loved one outside of your home and you don’t want to scatter the remains, a columbarium niche would be a great option.

You may choose to use a columbarium niche due to your faith, family tradition, or culture. Columbarium niches are also an economical and practical choice for those who wish to be cremated, as cremation helps solve the problem of cemetery overpopulation.

What’s the difference between a columbarium and a mausoleum?

It is often thought that a columbarium and a mausoleum are the same, however, there is one distinct difference. A mausoleum is designed for entire bodies, whereas a columbarium is designed to hold inurned cremated remains.

What is the cost of a columbarium niche?

Columbarium niches can be purchased by the family after the death of a loved one or they can be purchased in advance. Keep in mind that the niche will generally cost more if bought at the time of death.

Indoor versus outdoor niches will also affect the price; indoor niches are usually more expensive as they provide a comfortable place to visit, especially in bad weather. Although prices will vary depending on location, a typical 9″ x 9″ x 9″ size cremation niche purchased before death averages $750 to $2,800.

 

If you’re still unsure if a columbarium niche is right for you or your loved one, or if you’d like to learn more, contact us today. Our team is happy to help provide support and guidance whenever needed! 

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