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A Guide to Non-Religious Funerals May 31, 2023

Many people nowadays do not practice a specific religion and would prefer their funeral to be a non-religious ceremony. These non-religious funerals focus on the uniqueness and value of the life of the deceased, celebrating their achievements and what made them who they were. There can be a bit more flexibility as to the tone set for the funeral and what is included in it, as there are no religious rituals to undertake. Equally, the funeral can take place in a number of different settings including the home, a crematorium, a natural burial site or a parish hall. Many people find comfort in the funeral taking place in a less formal setting.

Many people choose to replace religious hymns and music with a person’s favourite songs, a live performance from someone they know, or a song that was important to them during their life. Popular songs that most people will know can be powerful and evoke thoughts of the deceased. Some popular choices include:

  • Nimrod (from Enigma Variations) by Edward Elgar
  • My Way by Frank Sinatra
  • Let It Be by The Beatles
  • Always Look On The Bright Side of Life by Monty Python
  • Claire de Lune by Debussy
  • You’ll Never Walk Alone by Gerry & The Pacemakers
  • What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
  • Lay Me Down by Sam Smith
  • Time To Say Goodbye by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman
  • Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel
  • Albatross by Fleetwood Mac
  • Smile Nat King Cole

As well as music, you can choose a verse from the person’s favourite poet or author, which may reflect their personality. The reading does not necessarily have to relate to death and loss – it can be something uplifting or reflective of the person. Some nice readings include:

  • ​Death is Nothing at All by Henry Scott-Holland
  • ​When I am Dead, My Dearest by Christina Rossetti
  • Roads Go Ever On ​by J.R.R Tolkein
  • A Clear Midnight by Walt Whitman
  • The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Humanist Funerals

Many people opting for a non-religious ceremony choose a Humanist funeral. Humanism is the belief that we only have one life, and that it’s best to make decisions centred on a strong sense of ethics with happiness and welfare in mind. There are many humanist celebrants available to take over the role of a religious person. They will talk about the celebration of life and the person.

Alternatives to Traditional Burial

Generally, religious burials can take place in a churchyard or similar but with a non-religious funeral,  people might choose another type of burial. An appreciation of nature means that many people are choosing to opt for a natural burial instead. This can take place in a specially purposed site, typically a plot of woodland chosen for its natural beauty, where people can be laid to rest knowing that they and the people who visit them afterwards will be surrounded by the trees, flowers and wildlife.

If you are looking to arrange a funeral in Ripley, Crich or the surrounding areas of Derbyshire, please do not hesitate to contact Archway Funeral Service.