Humanist/Atheist or Secular/Non-Religious funeral ceremonies

humanist funerals

For the less religious the past 30 years in many countries has been a revelation in the rise of non religious ceremonies. Prior to this period Humanist, Secular and Atheist ceremonies were largely unheard of and in some cases even considered slightly suspicious. This however has changed and today Humanist or Non-Religious ceremonies are becoming more and more popular with entire industries now being built on what would previously be considered highly unorthodox ceremonies. So how do these ceremonies work?

What’s different about a Non-Religious funeral and lead up to the funeral?

The key element of Humanist or Non-Religious people is that they generally do not believe in either an afterlife or a God. Ordinarily their orientation on life is based around good relations with other humans the use of tangible or testable scientific evidence. For this reason they, in general, do not subscribe to set rituals or rigid traditions. Instead they organise ceremonies which are ultimately flexible to the needs and wishes of the deceased and his or her family. With this in mind there are no near death traditions apart from the norm of having friends and family around.

Where does a Non-Religious/Humanist ceremony take place?

This question is ultimately impossible to answer. While there are some purpose built places for Humanists to meet, and these can be used, it’s key to remember their are no restraints on the locations, practices or anything really. As long as you stay within the law of the land you can have your funeral service on a beach, have the ashes shot out of a cannon (remember what I said about the law) and go camping as the post funeral reception.

What normally happens at a secular funeral and what do non observers need to know?

For many religious people Non-Religious or Humanist ceremonies may be a little unusual. there are no set structures, excerpts from holy books or consistent costumes. The entire things can be as conservative or as unique as you can imagine. Most families and planners will take into account the fact that most people have not attended Non-Religious funerals so you should be told what to expect and what (if anything) is expected of you. The norm is the wearing of dark colours and flowers being acceptable however every ceremony is different so ask before you make decisions on these two areas.

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