When you think of funeral services, it is likely that you picture a service in a church with people singing hymns out of programs and a minister leading the ceremony. This is, afterall, how a traditional ceremony tends to go – that is, if you’re religious.
But what about if you don’t follow a religious agenda? In this case, you can have what’s known as a humanist funeral.
In this quick guide, we’ll explain the differences between religious and humanist funerals. (Please note, we’ll be referring specifically to Christianity when discussing religious funerals).
Religious funerals are typically carried out in a church or crematorium, depending on whether the deceased will be buried or cremated.
During a religious funeral service, a religious leader (typically a priest or minister) will lead the ceremony, guiding attendees to partake in prayers and sing hymns throughout (these are usually chosen prior by the family), and will often include the reading of a Psalm.
Towards the end of the ceremony, the priest or minister will perform the Rite of Committal at the final resting place. Then, the burial will take place (or curtains will shut in the case of a cremation) and some family and friends may choose to sprinkle some dirt over the coffin as part of their final goodbyes.
As well as offering a chance for mourners to say goodbye and remember the life of their deceased loved one, religious funerals are seen to act as a way to help the deceased’s soul enter safely into heaven.
Most humanist funerals are held in cemeteries, crematoriums or green burial sites, however they can be held anywhere – this may be a place of significance to the deceased person, for example.
Humanist ceremonies can be led by anyone, however are traditionally led by a celebrant; humanist celebrants will spend time with the family and close friends of the deceased in order to learn more about them, then will write a personalised tribute to deliver during the ceremony celebrating the person who has died and the life they lived. This speech will be approved with the family prior to the funeral.
The funeral itself is based around this tribute and the deceased person, and may include songs, readings and/or tributes from guests. There will also often be time in the funeral to offer guests a moment of silent reflection.
A humanist funeral is a personal funeral ceremony to celebrate the legacy and life lived of a lost loved one, who did not hold religious beliefs. These tend to be more bespoke funerals, as they are very much catered around the deceased person themselves and the family’s individual wishes for how they wish to mourn and remember them.
Planning Religious or Humanist Funeral Arrangements in Wakefield
If you live in Wakefield and are looking to arrange funeral plans for the loss of a loved one, or make provisional plans for yourself, then look no further than Normington & Sons.
As independent funeral directors, we will take the time to understand your wishes (this could be anything from your choice of hymns or music to the type of coffin and any other personal touches) and tailor a plan suited to you.
Contact us today to discuss the arrangements you wish to make. We’re here to help you through every stage of this difficult process.