What is a humanist funeral?

A humanist funeral, also known as a non-religious or secular funeral, is a ceremony that focuses on celebrating the life of the deceased in a way that is meaningful and personal, without any religious or spiritual content. Humanist funerals are becoming increasingly popular in the UK as more people identify as non-religious or have diverse religious backgrounds. In a humanist funeral, the ceremony is typically conducted by a humanist celebrant who works closely with the family to create a personalised and respectful tribute. The focus is on the life, values, and achievements of the deceased, rather than any religious or supernatural beliefs and the aim is to provide a ceremony that reflects the individual’s personality, beliefs, and wishes.

What does a humanist funeral include?

The structure and content of a humanist funeral can vary depending on the preferences of the family and the celebrant. It often includes elements such as music, readings, poetry, personal anecdotes, and shared memories – eulogies and tributes are commonly delivered by family members, friends, or colleagues, highlighting the unique qualities and significant moments of the person’s life. Humanist funerals emphasise the importance of celebrating the person’s life, the impact they had on others, and the legacy they leave behind. The focus is on finding comfort and solace in the memories and shared experiences of the deceased rather than relying on religious or spiritual beliefs. Humanist funerals provide a space for individuals to come together to mourn, support each other, and pay tribute to the person who has passed away. The ceremonies are inclusive and respectful of all attendees, regardless of their religious or non-religious backgrounds. They aim to create a meaningful and personalised farewell that reflects the wishes and values of the deceased and their loved ones. There are organisations such as Humanists UK that provide resources, support, and training for humanist celebrants who conduct non-religious ceremonies, including funerals. These celebrants work closely with families to create a fitting and dignified tribute that honours the life of the deceased in a meaningful way, while respecting their non-religious or secular beliefs.