Columbaria and cremation niches
A columbarium is a construct used for the storage or final resting place of cremated remains in cinerary urns. They can be free standing structures, or part of a building with many niches resembling dovecotes. In fact, the term “columbarium” comes from the Latin term “columba” meaning “dove” which in the past was used to describe nesting compartments for doves and pigeons. The plural term for columbarium is called “columbaria”.
Columbaria nowadays are popular choices as final resting places due to growing popularity of cremation, economical in terms of pricing, and the increasing scarcity of land. Like cemeteries and memorial parks, columbaria can either be privately or publicly managed although most cemeteries and memorial parks nowadays will also include columbaria for added convenience and to maximise options in terms of choice.
Previously, columbaria are usually a part of religious complexes such as Buddhist temples and Christian churches as an extra benefit for local congregations or communities. Due to growing popularity and demand, columbaria are nowadays independent, elaborate structures reflecting cultural, religious or even fanciful themes. Privately managed columbaria may even offer the convenience of extra amenities and luxuries such as visitor’s centres, lounges and air-conditioning.