Ceremonies > Funerals

A funeral ceremony is an important time when family and friends focus their thoughts on the person who has died. It should help them to express their sadness but also to celebrate the person's life.

People committed to a religious faith will usually want a religious minister or leader to conduct their funeral ceremony. But those to whom religion has been less important or who have made a clear decision to live without it are likely to find that a humanist ceremony, which uniquely and affectionately honours the life of the person who has died, has more warmth and meaning.

A humanist ceremony will focus on the life that has ended and the celebrant will visit family members and close friends to discuss the person who has died - their work, achievements, pastimes and personality. The ceremony will contain no hymns or prayers, but usually music is played, there are tributes, there is time for quiet reflection and there is the committal. Family and friends have the opportunity to contribute by speaking about the person who has died or by reading poems, if they feel able to do so.

A humanist funeral can be a ceremony for a burial or a cremation. In the case of a cremation, a ceremony to inter the ashes can be conducted at a later date, if required.

A humanist ceremony is a dignified celebration of life and can be a positive event for the family and friends left behind.

To find out more about humanist funerals, see our list of celebrants or visit the BHA website www.humanism.org.uk

This page was up to date on 19/04/2013.