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Why are more people seeking humanist funerals?

9th December 2016   Latest News

Non-religious and humanist ceremonies have been a topic of conversation in the news this week, but why have they garnered so much interest?

The most recent figures show that close to 7 million people say that they would like a humanist funeral

In recent times, humanist funerals have become increasingly popular among those seeking a more personal funeral service. Traditionally, religious funerals follow conventional guidelines; however many are edging away from this idea.

The British Humanist Association is keen for these ceremonies to be made legally binding across the whole of Britain.

What is a humanist funeral service?


If you are not religious but are still hoping for a funeral that reflects your personal beliefs and celebrates your life, then a humanist funeral is the way to go.

The idea behind a humanist funeral is to focus solely on the life of your loved one – a tribute to the life they led and the people that were important to them. Personal reading and writings are the centrepieces of a humanist funeral, which allows attendees to share their favourite memories, characteristics and feelings in a meaningful way. It is a truly honest and open ceremony that many people opt for as an alternative funeral choice.

A humanist is somebody who takes a more scientific view on the way the world works. Aiming to live ethically, with a strong focus on empathy and human welfare, a humanist does not sway towards the ideology of a God. You do not have to encapsulate all of these qualities to opt for a humanist service, many of our clients choose an alternative funeral because they simply do not believe in God.

Why are we becoming less religious?

Historically, when saying goodbye to someone, people have been channelled into believing that they should choose a hymn, hold the service in a church and conform to saying words that may not reflect the beliefs of the person who has passed.

Following the established rites of a certain religion generally includes a service led by a minister at a place of worship, followed by a cremation or burial. However, as interest in contemporary funerals has risen, a celebration of life is now expressed in a range of other ways…

What does a humanist funeral involve?

When it comes to choosing the venue, a humanist funeral can be held pretty much anywhere – whether you’d prefer an indoor or outdoor ceremony. The arrangements are entirely up to the individual, and there is not one set way to hold a humanist funeral; however, the following may be included in no set order:

  • Introductory music
  • Words of welcome
  • Thoughts on life and death from a non-religious perspective
  • An outline of the personality of the deceased – a tribute
  • Readings of poetry or prose
  • Reflection for private thoughts
  • Closing words
  • Final music


There is no specific way to plan or conduct a humanist funeral. You may want to include some or none of these aspects, but at ISCA Funerals, we can guide you through various options to ensure the ceremony is entirely fitting for the circumstances.
If you are considering a humanist funeral as an alternative to a religious/traditional ceremony, you should ensure that your wishes are known to loved ones.

Humanist funeral services with ISCA

At ISCA Funerals, we have expanded our funeral services to accommodate the growing needs of our customers. We arrange funerals for people from all walks of life, regardless of religion or culture, and we propose specialist humanist funeral services across the South West region.

Recognising how important it is to consider the right funeral service depending on the individual, we are experienced in arranging all kinds of funerals. If you think a humanist service might be the option best suited to you, give us a call today – we hold a 24/7 support helpline.

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