Humanist funerals are gaining popularity across the world. In short, they offer the opportunity to celebrate someone’s life in the most unique and individual way possible. Still not sure what makes up a humanist funeral and why you should consider one? Read on to find out more.
What Is “Humanist”?
Humanism generally refers to the focus on humans, often individually, and in funerals this manifests as a move away from religious proceedings. A humanist funeral will focus on the life and nature of the deceased, rather than going through traditional religious scriptures. This move away from normal methods offers some of a humanist funerals most biggest advantages. As you’ll soon see, it enables more creativity, freedom and a greater personal touch when saying goodbye to a loved one.
Who Organizes A Humanist Funeral?
A humanist funeral follows the same laws and regulations as any other funeral so, depending on your state, you will still need to refer to a funeral director. However, there is no legal requirement for you to use a church, priest or any other aspect of a religious ceremony. A funeral director can help you with all manner of important choices, such as caskets, cremations and burial plots, but you are by no means obligated to take up any religious choices.
Speaking of legal requirements, it’s worth noting that such a funeral does still need to meet the laws requirements. In most states, this involves a funeral director and, if you’re planning to take care of the body yourself, you may need permission or licenses to do so. Of course you are also free to turn down typical processes, such as embalming, which aren’t a legal requirement at all.
Of course, a push away from religion means churches aren’t generally used, so humanist events often look for alternative burial sites and locations. Cemeteries are still an option – after all, this is all about expressing personal choice and tailoring the funeral to reflect the deceased – but popular options include outdoor areas such as forests and private properties. For the likes of forests, please be aware that legal restrictions still apply so, while you can often hold the service itself in public, the actual burial plot itself meets the regular legal requirements – again, a funeral director can help with this.
Alternative Staff and Services
Similarly, if you’re not having a religious service, who will lead the event and help plan the funeral with you? Thankfully, the rising popularity of humanist services has given way to a number of growing organizations and there is likely one near you. These can offer the services of a “life celebrant”, which will act in a similar manner to a priest. They will tell stories about the deceased, play chosen music and even talk with the grieving. Of course, this is a customized experience, so they will work with you to create the right environment and service.
How To Remember Them
Additionally, you are free to choose how the service itself is carried out. Whether this is playing favorite music, allowing friends and family to share memories or having the celebrant speak to the crowd, the freedom is yours. If you’re planning your own funeral, this can be put down in your will to help ensure everything is as you would prefer it.
Why Chose A Humanist Funeral?
There is no right or wrong option when it comes to funerals and people are free to choose the option that agrees with them the most. Humanist funerals are becoming popular with people who are not religious, or simply prefer a service that focuses more on celebrating the life of the deceased rather than the religious over tones or nature of death itself.
In the end, a humanist funeral is an option like any other, but it opens up a wider range of possibilities. If you’re looking for a unique and customized way to honor and say goodbye to someone, humanist services give you plenty of scope and freedom to do so.
Robert Bruce has a passion for lending his voice towards multiple issues involving the funeral and memorial industry. When he’s not working with Great Lakes Caskets, he enjoys his hobby as a writer.
Updated: January 28, 2016