Polish Language Blog

Is it legal to spread human ashes in Poland? Posted by on Jul 23, 2019 in Culture, Regulations, Religion

I recently said goodbye to a friend, together with his family, at the top of the mountain. He had certain wishes about his burial, before he passed away. It was a very sad, but beautiful moment.

If your loved one was cremated, you may be planning to scatter his or her ashes, or at least a portion of them. Scattering ashes in a favorite place can provide beautiful and meaningful closure, and it can offer you the peace of mind in knowing that a part of your loved one will always be in a place they loved. But it’s important to make sure it’s okay to scatter the ashes in the place you’re planning on.

Image courtesy pixabay.com

If you plan to bring human ashes to Poland, there are few steps you have to take.

Under Polish Law, bringing of human ashes to Poland is possible by obtaining a transportation permit issued by a Polish consular office.In order to obtain the permit you must submit to this office few documents.

You will need a written permission for shipment and burial of human ashes issued by appropriate local district or municipal authorities in Poland /STAROSTA or URZAD MIASTA/ – a fax copy is acceptable; must be provided by the family of the deceased.

You will also need Death Certificate (original or certified copy), Certificate of Cremation, Burial Transit Permit for removal out of State, Notarized Affidavit by funeral Director, stating that ashes were placed in a sealed urn or similar container /i.e. blocked in a way that prevents from any intended or unintended opening from the outside/, and there is nothing but ashes inside.

The fee is $60 plus return postage: your pre-paid return envelope or postage fee of $12.

Image by PublicDomainArchive from Pixabay

As you know, majority of people in Poland are catholics. The church banned cremation for centuries, but began to allow the practice in 1963, as long as it is not done for reasons at odds with Christian doctrine. In 2016 Vatican released announcement that Ashes to ashes is fine, as long as you don’t spread them around.

I honestly couldn’t find a straight answer anywhere, if it is actually legal or not in Poland to scattered ashes. I know that people do it, like anywhere else in the world. It is not legal according to the Roman Catholic Church, that’s for sure. The Vatican decreed that the ashes of loved ones have no place in the home, and certainly not in jewelry. It urged that cremated remains be preserved in cemeteries or other approved sacred places.

Wherever you decide to scatter loved person’s ashes, be considerate and think of others as you decide where to place them. Ashes are pretty recognizable to anyone who’s ever seen them. They’re not a fine powder; they include bone fragments that are not going to immediately return to the elements. So when you scatter, find a private place that’s not where others will be walking, sitting, or doing other activities.

If any of you have more information about legally scattering ashes in Poland, please share it with us.

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About the Author: Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew near Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.