A guide to secular funerals

A non-religious funeral can take many formsSecular or non-religious funerals are increasingly common. Many people don’t adhere to a formal religion, instead adopting more personalised forms of spiritual belief. Others identify as atheist or humanist, rejecting religious belief entirely. Here’s a brief guide to this type of ceremony.


What are secular funerals?

Simply put, secular funerals are funerals that don’t adhere to the established end-of-life practices, conventions and traditions of a particular religion. However, secular funerals may include certain religious components if the deceased considered them to be part of their cultural heritage, which is often separate from the adoption of a religious belief system.


Aspects to consider

Since there are no defined secular funeral traditions, it’s really up to the person to decide how they’d like the ceremony to unfold. Here are some key elements to consider.


  • Format. The purpose of a funeral is to gather the deceased’s loved ones and help them process the loss. While it’s common to include eulogies, music and readings, there are plenty of ways to celebrate life and acknowledge grief.


  • Display. It’s common for secular funerals to display the deceased in a casket or an urn, depending on the person’s final wishes. However, there’s nothing that specifically requires them to be displayed.


  • Disposal. Some faiths impose restrictions on what happens to a person’s remains, but there’s no such determinant for secular ceremonies. However, green burials and cremation are fairly popular options for non-religious funerals.


  • Venue. While some people may choose to hold a secular funeral in a religious setting, there are many other possibilities. From a simple service to a full-fledged ceremony, the event can be held virtually anywhere. A place that was meaningful to the deceased can be a great location to hold a celebration of life.


  • A funeral celebrantCelebrant. Since there’s no religious affiliation, anyone the family deems a good choice can act as a funeral celebrant. For example, they can be a respected member of the community or a close friend of the deceased. Funeral directors can provide guidance with this decision.


Finally, secular funerals offer many original ways to honour someone’s memory. Organising a group donation to a worthy cause is a popular option.






Simple funerals and cemetery monuments in the GTA

Mount Pleasant Group has provided compassionate and professional service in the GTA for more than 200 years. We handle secular, religious and interfaith ceremonies, so contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

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