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2011 | 4 | 563-602

Article title

„V žáru lásky se život započal – v žáru ohně se končí“. Čtyři pohledy na vývoj kremačního hnutí v české společnosti

Title variants

‘Life Begins in the Heat of Love and Ends in the Heat of Fire’: Four Views on the Development of Cremation in Czech Society

Languages of publication



In this article the authors analyse mutually related but, at least as regards Czech society, not always directly interdependent aspects of the cremation movement in the twentieth century: the growth in pro-cremation propaganda and its impact, the establishment of new crematoria, the spread of the popularity of cremation as a me thod of disposing of the dead throughout society and changes in the rituals associated with it. The long domination of ideology over social interests with r egard to cremation is evident, for example, in the fact that in the first half of the twentieth century the cremation movement attracted substantially more followers than those who eventually chose this method of disposal for themselves, a method that was later encouraged and eventually accepted throughout Czech society as a result of pressure from the Communist régime. Furthermore, for many years, the construction and decoration of cre- matoria, as well as ceremonies connected with cremation, reflected ideological perspectives rather than practical social needs. The authors explain this in terms of Czech attitudes towards religion, which were influenced by a number of factors, not just the Communist regime. The subsequent de-ideologization of these various aspects was quite slow, not taking place till the late twentieth century, and then only to a limited extent. Contemporary Czech society has one of the highest cremation rates in Europe, a fact connected both with deeprooted Czech anticlericalism and with the path dependence of funeral rituals that became firmly entrenched during the Communist era.








Physical description


  • Soudobé dějiny, redakce, Ústav pro soudobé dějiny AV ČR, v.v.i., Vlašská 9, 118 40 Praha 1, Czech Republic


Document Type

Publication order reference


YADDA identifier

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