Funeral Rites Across Different Cultures: Humanists

Humanism is a philosophy or worldview that is found throughout time and across the world in many different cultures.  Humanism is a comprehensive, non-religious life stance that affirms human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning to and shape their own lives. Humanists place great importance on thinking and reason as ways people can be fulfilled.

A humanist funeral is not an act of worship but instead centered around the person who has passed.  Humanist funerals are often chosen when the departed did not practice any one religion or if he or she was an atheist.  As historical traditions do not exist to dictate the format of humanist funerals, arrangements are left up to the individual or individual’s family.  The fundamental goal of a humanist funeral is to commemorate a deceased individual in a way that is unique to what the person liked-their passions, goals, and dreams.  In this manner, a humanist funeral is a ceremony that celebrates the life and legacy of someone who has passed without mentioning religion or a god.  A thoughtful way to honor the life of a loved one and the relationships they forged, a humanist funeral may be led by a close friend or family member.

A humanist funeral allows friends and relatives of all faiths to come together and mark the passing of a loved one with a dignified farewell and celebration of life.

Woodlawn continues to be a non-sectarian cemetery without a specific religious affiliation.