As you look skywards tonight, you might just see some particularly special fireworks.
The scattering of ashes via fireworks is taking off. These days there are several companies that offer the service for both people and pets.
Fourth-generation pyrotechnician Andrew Howard is co-ordinating 75 fireworks shows in towns and cities across the country tonight. While none of those events include someone’s ashes, he told ABC Darwin that ashes being spread using fireworks is becoming more popular.
“We got our first inquiry over a decade ago. It was a little bit weird but it’s certainly very common now.”
“We do several throughout the year but there won’t be any on New Year’s Eve this year,” said Mr Howard.
Ashes are put into handmade aerial shell fireworks that are launched high into the sky over the location sought by the client, usually somewhere of significance to the deceased or their friends and family. The colour of the fireworks becomes an important component of the ceremony, with the colour chosen to reflect the personality of the deceased.
In 2010 the Sydney Harbour New Year’s fireworks incorporated the ashes of two dogs, Gyprock and Zeus. They were the beloved pets of Craig Hull, who has since become a successful pyrotechnician. His company, Ashes to Ashes, specialises in “the scattering of one’s cremated ashes by way of a beautiful and spectacular fireworks display”.
Mr Hull’s first clients were Mikala and Stephanie Dwyer. The sisters sent their mum and grandmother up in fireworks in Sydney in 2014. Speaking to The Feed, Mikala said the ashes had been “hanging around for quite some time”.
“My grandmother’s been hanging around in cupboards since 1994 so this is a way of setting her free a bit,” said Mikala.
“My mother loved fireworks so this was the perfect thing.”
“It seemed totally right and I realise it’s not right for everyone, but for us it was quite wonderful,” she said.
What do you think? Would you like to go out with a bang at a memorial service with a difference? You can make your wishes known in your will or simply tell your loved ones or write down your wishes in The Bottom Drawer Book: an after death action plan.
I hope you have a safe and memorable New Year’s Eve. Enjoy the fireworks! And I’d love to know your thoughts about sending your friends and family skywards.