Essential Funerals

Humanist Funerals Scotland

What is a humanist funeral?

A humanist funeral service is a personal alternative to a religious or faith based funeral ceremony.  The ceremony is brought together and conducted by a humanist funeral officer or celebrant who works with family and friends to create a truly meaningful and personal funeral ceremony.

The focus of a humanist funeral is on the person whose life we are commemorating. During the ceremony, we pay tribute to your loved one by talking about their life, their personality, the difference they made to friends and family. We want to make the funeral ceremony the best that it can be. We care, listen and find the words for a meaningful and fitting tribute.

— Anne Widdop

Where do humanist funeral ceremonies take place?

A humanist funeral can be held anywhere, both indoors and outside, and is followed by the Committal at a crematorium or burial site. We have held funeral services in:

  • crematoriums
  • cemeteries
  • woodland burial grounds, and other burial grounds.

What happens at a humanist funeral?

Every humanist funeral is different and personal. However, it is likely that the ceremony will include:

  • Music on arrival
  • A welcome to everyone attending the funeral
  • Thoughts on life and reflection on death from a humanist standpoint
  • Readings (poetry and prose)
  • Words from friends and family
  • A eulogy or talk on the achievements of the dead person, and the meaning of their life.
  • Moment of silence and reflection (a moment of meditation or private prayer for religious people attending the funeral)
  • Formal words of goodbye
  • Committal (lowering of coffin or closing of curtains)
  • Music as guests leave

Author Anne Widdop

  • Ian Sheriff

    After attending a funeral with a humanist in attendance, I have thought about becoming a humanist style talker myself. Does anyone think it is possible without joining a recognised group or society?