Non-religious funeral services are chosen when the deceased did not follow any particular kind of formal religion. Also, a non-religious funeral is appropriate when the deceased was a Humanist or an Atheist.
For this kind of funeral, there are no traditional guidelines and rites. Usually, the format is dictated by the family of the deceased or the deceased’s personal preferences.
Introduction to Non-Religious Funeral Services
Every religion has rituals and traditions that honor the deceased and help bereaved families in managing their grief. The requirement for a suitable way to remember a deceased loved one and bid goodbye is universal. This even applies to non-religious people. So, a non-religious funeral means a formal ceremony for honoring the dead that isn’t tied to any tradition, belief, or ritual of any specific religion. At this ceremony, many similar elements are used, such as non-religious funeral readings and eulogies.
Non-religious funerals serve to assist mourners in expressing their sorrow and offering their condolences to the bereaved family. In several cases, this funeral service is a celebration of the life that the departed person lived.
Non-Religious Cremation Etiquette
Members who attend non-religious cremation service are expected to behave in a certain manner that is usual for other types of funeral services, religious or not. That’s because the funeral may be atypical or non-religious but the feelings of grief and sadness are similar.
At this funeral, the general mood remains somber and guests act with respect to the wishes of the family. They may want the service to be held in a more celebratory way, where the life of the dead is remembered with fondness and joy. There could be music that the dead one enjoyed throughout their lifetime. So, be ready to listen to non-traditional music at a non-religious funeral.
At a non-religious funeral, guests need to dress in a proper traditional mourning attire i.e., dress either in dark or black color. Be conservative! However, the exception could be there if the family has informed you about the appropriate dress attire according to their funeral ceremony.
Traditions and Rites of a Non-Religious Funeral
As there are no set traditions for a non-religious cremation service, they are highly personalized. Meaning that guests can look forward to inspirational non-religious readings and some stories about the departed person’s life told by family and friends.
Displaying the Deceased and Funeral Format
A non-religious cremation service may not adhere to a specific religious tradition. However, they follow a usual funeral format like an opening statement, life stories from family and friends, a eulogy from the community’s respected member, a moment of mediation or silence, and some music. One usual element found generally is readings.
The purpose of many funerals is to collect the bereaved for remembering the dead and comfort the bereft family. A non-religious funeral reading, whether it is from a famous work of poetry and prose or it is written for the service, serves as a way to bring all together throughout the ceremony.
As the departed soul did not practice a specific religion, the guidelines about autopsies, embalming, and cremation would directly come from the deceased’s family or the deceased. Thus, guests can expect a number of scenarios at a non-religious cremation service, like open or closed casket funerals or funerals where the departed’s ashes are kept in some kind of ceremonial urn.
At non-religious funerals, guests can expect anything. Some growing and new non-religious cremation traditions even include green burials. These burials are also known as natural burials or eco-burials. They entail quick burials and biodegradable coffins. Thus, expect that funeral ceremony to be held within 24 or 48 hours after death. Green burials skip the process of embalming. So, this service is likely to a closed casket one.
Usually, donations to charity are a suitable way for honoring the departed, no matter what beliefs they followed throughout their lifetime. Another way to honor is to deliver some kind of tribute to the life lived. For a green burial, it may be suitable to offer potted plants as a sympathy gift. It is better to avoid cut flowers as they do not follow the deceased’s green principles. It is appropriate to send organic, locally sourced flowers to show sympathy to the family of the deceased.
Funeral Venue & Celebrant
The celebrant can be any family member that deems proper for leading the ceremony. It may be the community’s respected member or anyone from the family. Sometimes, a funeral director offers guidance on the service’s format, helping them to prepare a fitting cremation service.
The funeral venue for non-religious funeral services can be anywhere the deceased’s family designates. It could be a religious community’s chapel. From a humble memorial service to a complete ceremony that reflects the dead’s tastes and life, a non-religious funeral is highly personalized, including the ceremony’s location.
FAQs Related to Non-Religious Funerals
- What does a non-religious funeral like?
An atheist funeral is becoming common. Usually, it centers around the celebration of the departed person’s life. This service offers an appropriate place for mourners for expressing their sadness and acknowledging the remaining loved ones.
- What are humanist funeral services?
Ahumanist funeral service is a secular cremation service for people who call themselves ‘humanists’ throughout their life. Humanism is an ethical or philosophical stance. It is not a religious tradition and thus, the funeral would be non-religious. However, anyone can select a humanist funeral service.
- Who are humanist celebrants?
A humanist celebrant is a person who carries out important funeral services. He performs these services for persons who prefer a secular celebrant at rituals like weddings, funerals, or others.
- What occurs at atheist funerals?
At atheist funerals, guests can expect to listen to stories of the departed’s life, music that the departed one enjoyed throughout their life, memories from family and friends, and readings. Funeral readings always serve to assist the bereaved family. So, expect such offerings to be quite inspirational.