Why humanist funerals are growing in popularity

Reader's Digest Editors

Although the majority of funerals in the UK are traditional, the number of non-religious services is on the rise, reflecting a change in our society

16 years ago when the 2001 government census was taken, 7.7 million people regarded themselves as non-religious. Yet when the most recent 2011 government census was taken seven years ago in 2011, this figure had almost doubled to 14 million people regarding themselves as non-religious.

You don’t have to call yourself a humanist to have a humanist funeral; many people choose this as their funeral option simply because they do not have any religious beliefs.

What is a humanist funeral?

A humanist funeral is a very personal ceremony to remember the person who has passed away and say a final goodbye. The service will generally include kind words about the person’s life, readings from loved ones, music and a moment of silence allowing loved ones a short period to reflect on the life of the person who passed away.

The recent 2017 ‘Cost of Dying’ report from SunLife has uncovered that as a nation, we are still hesitant to discuss death and, staggeringly, only one per cent of people who have organised a funeral in the last four years were actually aware of their loved one’s wishes.

Of all people surveyed, 53 per cent of people said it would have been easier to organise their loved ones funeral if they had taken the time to have a discussion with them about dying and death.