A celebration of life: taking a humanist approach to funerals
Funerals have traditionally been regarded as religious ceremonies, held in a place of worship with guests dressed in black to mourn the passing of their loved ones with their God as a witness. But as funerals continue to evolve, many individuals are realising that this doesn’t always have to be the case. Over the past few years, we have seen a growing trend that is gathering pace and is being seen as a valid alternative to the religious ceremony, known as the humanist service. The figures speak for themselves – in less than a decade, the percentage of people requesting a religious funeral drastically dropped to 13% from the original 67%. With a personalised and ‘modern’ way of organising a funeral, more people are leaning towards bespoke ceremonies intended to mirror and celebrate their – or their loved ones’ – life, adding a personal touch to a final goodbye. So, today, we want to introduce you to the humanist services funeral style and highlight some of the key reasons why this could be an option for you.
The humanist service
According to a report carried out by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the number of non-religious people in the UK has increased by 46% since 2011. So, where does that leave non-religious individuals when organising a funeral? We believe that not having particular beliefs shouldn’t limit your choices for your final goodbye and opting for a humanist funeral could be the right decision if you want to move away from the religious element of burials or cremations. Whereas a religious service might take place in a church (depending on your religion) and is focused on readings and hymns, a humanist alternative can take place in a variety of different settings and revolves around a celebration of life concept. More often than not, it’s held in a crematorium but you can pick a different location, maybe one with an emotional attachment to make this day even more special or perhaps in the woodlands for an eco-funeral – it really is all down to preference. However, if your choice falls on the crematorium, here at Coles Funeral Directors, we have partnered with Thornhill Crematorium which has the tools to deliver audio-visual tributes and webcast the service to people who can’t attend the service too. The entire day can be tailored to your needs and preferences and it’s important that you talk to your funeral director beforehand so that they can guide you and help you make it a reality.
Celebrate the good times
Opting for a humanist funeral allows you to personalise the service to the smallest detail. Imagine you were arranging your last birthday party, how would you organise it? We are sure you would want it to be a memorable experience with all of your loved ones around you, celebrating your life in a way that is bespoke to you. Asking your guests to wear a specific type of clothing (perhaps a bold colour like red), create a memory board or organise a firework show, there is no limit to what you can do on the day of the ‘party’. With a humanist service, you can let yourself colour outside the lines without being limited by the restrictions or challenges that you may face when organising a religious funeral. Going back to the birthday analogy, as odd as it might sound, your coffin is your cake. They are usually personalised with your favourite colour and sometimes even embellished with text or small elements. Take for example TV chef Keith Floyd who personalised his coffin with banana leaves and sunflowers in honour of his passion for food. However you decide to organise it, it’s important to remember that planning ahead for your funeral can give you added financial flexibility too, opting for a pre-paid plan or by taking out funeral finance options to help spread the cost. Depending on the budget allocated, you can have as many – or as little – elements at your special event to represent you. However you decide to personalise this day, a humanist service allows you to organise an authentic and meaningful experience for all your friends and family. As in the words of TV presenter Stephen Fry “A humanist ceremony offers a contemporary way of satisfying the timeless need to bring significance to life’s big changes”.
We know that not everyone is religious in today’s society, and this should be taken into consideration when organising a funeral for yourself or your loved ones. If you don’t believe in God or any other divinity, you shouldn’t feel pressured into a religious funeral structure. More frequently, people in the UK are moving away from traditional ceremonies and are opting for a humanist service that allows them to better showcase their individuality and move away from a religious place of worship to do so. We all have a very different approach to life and it’s only fair that every aspect of a funeral should reflect this – within the legal limitations of course – from the coffin to the location of the funeral service. If you’d like to speak to our team about humanist services or find out more, get in touch today at email@example.com or at 029 2209 3388. Your individuality matters to us and you can always turn to us to get it right – no detail is too small.