Non-religious funeral options

03 July 2017

For centuries religion has played a role in almost every aspect of society, with funerals an epitomising example.

Woodland burial

But a 2017 study from St Mary's University shows that nearly half of the UK population now describes themselves as non-religious. According to the survey, as we tear through the 21st Century, that number will continue to rise. But funeral directors continue to adapt to evolving funeral wishes and now provide a number of options to meet customers needs. Here are some of them.

Humanist funerals

The popularity of humanist funerals has spiked in recent years as people opt for funerals that are more personal and befitting of the deceased. Typically, a humanist funeral will involve a celebrant investigating the personal interests and character of the deceased, in conjunction with the wishes of the bereaved, before putting together a touching tribute that is tailored to the individual. Usually, the service is held in a non-religious venue and traditional music and bible readings are exchanged for passages of personal significance and contemporary songs. Humanists UK, an organisation dedicated to providing non-religious services without the influence of religion, suggests that there is no set script and that services can be as elaborate or humble as requested.

Natural burials

Visitors to natural burial sites that exist in rural areas of the country are often blown away by the natural beauty of the environment. Typically, these areas are well-maintained fields filled with wildlife and wild fauna. Traditionally, those buried beneath the soil are commemorated with a plaque or an engraved bird box - headstones are usually not permitted. Many of these burial parks have facilities to conduct funeral services from, such as a barn or service venue. Like humanist funerals, the popularity of funerals and subsequent burials in the tranquil, natural surroundings of green burial parks is rising as society pushes for more environmentally-friendly ways to live and die.

Direct cremations

Last year, David Bowie’s spectacular life ended with a curated whimper when his body was quietly cremated and a small and private memorial service held for his wife and a few close friends. Since then, direct cremation has become a popular option for those who want a no-frills funeral service. This procedure involves the transportation of the deceased straight to the crematorium, without a ceremony or any mourners. The ashes are then returned to the family to be scattered as they see fit. This is usually a more cost-effective and can be arranged through your local independent funeral director.

No matter which type of funeral you prefer, taking out a pre-paid funeral plan is the ideal way to pre-arrange your own funeral so that difficult funeral decisions are not left down to those you leave behind.