What is a humanist funeral?

Understanding non-religious funerals

When we think about a funeral service we might think about it taking place in a church or other religious building, and being conducted by a religious leader. But this isn’t the only choice for a funeral service, and if your loved one wasn’t religious then you might choose to have a non-religious funeral. One type of non-religious funeral you could choose is a humanist funeral.

A humanist funeral is essentially a non-religious ceremony that focuses on the life the person has led, rather than a particular faith they may have had. It can follow much of the same structure as a religious funeral; with readings, music and eulogies; but it differs in that none of these things should be religious in nature.

Where does a humanist funeral take place?

Strictly speaking, there is no set place for a Humanist Funeral to take place, but they are commonly held in crematoria, cemeteries and woodland burial sites. Other places could include hotels, village halls, or any other place where people can gather and celebrate a person’s life.

Who leads a humanist funeral?

The person who will reside over the funeral is known as a Humanist Celebrant. In the same way a religious leader would, they will meet with and get to know the family before the funeral in order to write a fitting eulogy that will be read at the funeral service.

Why choose a humanist funeral?

If the person who has died was not religious, then a non-religious funeral such as a humanist funeral might be the right choice. For many, it could feel hypocritical to have a religious ceremony if the person did not believe, or just not feel that it best reflects what they would have wanted.
The service is completely unique as it doesn’t follow a strict order, and so you may feel that this is the best way to pay tribute to your loved one.


Anyone can choose to have a Humanist Funeral. If you would like to discuss arranging a humanist, or any other non-religious funeral for your loved one, please contact your local funeral home and they will be able to help.

For further information contact

Sarah Pyatt

Press Officer