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The death of a close relative or friend is often a bitter experience and the feelings of shock and loss can be very deep. A funeral should be an occasion for family and friends to focus their thoughts on the person who has died, and help them express and share their sadness. But it is also an opportunity for them to celebrate the life of the person they have lost, to express their gratitude and appreciation, and to say farewell with care and respect.

A humanist funeral acknowledges loss and celebrates a life without employing religious rituals. It aims above all to reflect the family’s feelings for the person who has died. Humanist Celebrants Northeast know how to empathise with the bereaved, interview with sensitivity, and prepare a ceremony according to a family’s wishes.

When planning a funeral the celebrant will normally visit the family in order to learn as much as possible about the person who has died and to discuss the family’s wishes for the funeral. The celebrant will then devise a ceremony and write a tribute that fully reflects the life and personality of the deceased. The family can choose appropriate music and readings of poetry or prose for inclusion in the service, and if family members or friends wish to read any of these, or indeed to give a tribute to the deceased, they are welcome to do so.

Whatever the circumstances of life and death, celebrants are not there to moralise or judge, but to understand. They will help to plan a personal and dignified funeral ceremony, and conduct it on the day. They also have an important role of liaison with funeral directors and crematorium and cemetery staff.


A printed copy of the ceremony is offered to the family afterwards, for them to send to absent relatives or friends, or to keep as a memento.

Humanist funerals have the same status in civil law as religious ones, and include nothing that should offend anyone who has religious faith. Celebrants usually include in the ceremony a short period for quiet reflection or private prayer. Religious people often say how moving and enjoyable they have found a humanist ceremony.

For the immediate family and close friends it is a great satisfaction to have provided a ceremony that their loved one would have wanted.

If a non-religious funeral is required it is important to let your funeral director know when making the arrangements.



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