Funerals are a time for many individuals to uphold traditions. Christian funerals emphasise the deceased’s final resting place through prayers and hymns. Monks may be seen chanting while surrounded by Buddha images at Buddhist funerals.
What transpires, however, if your loved one has no beliefs? Do you have funeral plans? What traditions do you uphold? As of 2014, 22.8 percent of Americans identified as freethinkers, and this percentage rises yearly, according to Pew Research.
People who do not actively believe in gods are called freethinkers. The idea that there is life after death is the foundation of traditional funerals, and freethinkers’ funerals instead emphasise life. Continue reading if you have just lost a loved one or want to learn more about free thinker funerals.
You might be shocked if you anticipate a free thinker funeral to differ from the norm. Although the two groups hold different beliefs, there may be similarities in the funeral services. A free thinker’s funeral is customary and distinctive, including giving eulogies and producing art around the casket.
Secular Rituals for Funeral Services
Secular funerals typically focus on the individual. Their adaptability is the best feature. Services may be understated or inventive. Some families want to hold services at the graveside, while others choose to have them before the burial. Some people might wish for a memorial service where the body is not present. Some people decide not to use a traditional service at all. They gather in a park or host a celebration in their loved one’s favourite location.
Most freethinker services consist of a meeting of grieving family members and discussing their beliefs regarding death.
Sequence of Events
Secular funerals focus on celebrating life rather than mourning the passing of the living. Freethinkers think their experiences make up their lives and want memories and their favourite things to be observed to recall their life. Friends and family can unleash their feelings during a service in a secure setting.
The nondenominational service may be held before cremation, during burial, or after interment. Although secular liturgies don’t include scripts or blessings, the organisation is still worthwhile. The sequence of events will differ since secular funerals are so dissimilar. Your order of service can appear as follows:
- While people take their seats, music may be playing. Guests might think back on the deceased’s life in the interim.
- Members of your immediate relatives or close friends greet you. A family member or friend participating in the welcoming ceremony might give it a more intimate vibe.
- The significance of death is then discussed, frequently with references to other poetry and philosophic sections.
- A tribute is paid to your loved one, typically in the form of a eulogy. A person of choice considers the characteristics and experiences of the deceased.
- After the tribute, visitors can consider their relationships with their loved ones and find closure. There will be a period of silence after this, or visitors may continue to converse.
- The remains are finally honoured. Freethinkers have different burial traditions. In some rites, loved ones may paint messages of affection on the coffin to beautify it. As a final ceremony, you might scatter your loved one’s ashes or practice meditation with your loved ones.
The use of music helps to set the mood for your loved one’s memorial event. Typically, it is played at the start and end of the service. Consider the atmosphere and setting of the service while choosing the music. Is the environment for the service casual? Then you may select a cheery song. Does it tend to follow more conventional funeral customs? An improved option might be instrumental music.
Another excellent technique to promote reflection is playing soft music during the service. You could select a secular musician to perform at your loved one’s funeral. Composers like Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky placed little importance on religion.
Music choices might not have overt religious overtones, and picking music your loved one likes is a no-brainer. If sacred music were significant to your loved one, such as “Amazing Grace” or “Hallelujah,” they might even be considered.
Secular hymns have become more popular recently. These are songs that, despite not being spiritual, have a spiritual effect. They are timeless works that continue to be well-liked today. ‘Over the Rainbow,’ ‘Imagine,’ and ‘What a Wonderful World’ are a few options.
Additionally, participants may sing or play musical instruments. Keep in mind that there isn’t any right or wrong song at the funeral of a loved one. To make the best decision, consider your loved one’s characteristics and the things they enjoy.
Place of The Service
Freethinker’s funerals can be held anywhere. Since the body may not always be present during a non-religious funeral, the service can be carried wherever you feel best honours the life of your loved one. How about a ballpark if your loved one enjoyed baseball? You may recall beachgoers or those who adore the outdoors. Favourite restaurants, bars, museums, and art galleries are all possible choices.
Here are some additional suggestions to get you thinking about the ideal location:
- Home burial is a lovely way to be near your loved ones and can be held at a family member’s or a friend’s house. In a place where your loved one spent much time, hand-digging their grave might be a cathartic experience. Always double-check the laws in your specific state before deciding on this action.
- Community centre: It’s possible that your loved one had a special affection for their hometown or current location. A cosy setting for a small ceremony can be found in a community centre. Participants can sit in a circle and reflect on memorable moments.
- On the water: A burial on the water might offer a unique feeling of closure if your loved one was an explorer. A pocket park, marina, or beach are all exciting places to honour their lives.
Consider the lifestyle and preferences of your loved one when selecting a place.
Literature & Poetry
Your loved one’s favourite novels and poems are a logical choice because secular funerals don’t focus on religious doctrine. It can be preferable to read works by authors who are not religious. As a beginning point, think about where your service is offered. For benefit outside, you should utilise a reading with a natural theme.
During smaller events, friends and family members can alternate readings. A eulogy may also be included. Eulogies highlight the accomplishments, character, and social contributions of your loved one. They are beneficial for large funerals where not every attendee may have had a close relationship with their loved one.
Funerals for freethinkers are flexible because they don’t have to follow religious rules. American secularists are changing traditional funerals. Cremations will outnumber burials by 2% in 2015, and that percentage will rise to 19% by 2020. As varied as burial practices are, the values and beliefs of freethinkers. Here are some burial choices to help you choose if your loved one didn’t voice their preference before passing away:
There are numerous possibilities for your loved one’s ashes after cremation.
- Burying cremated remains is a common practice, and you can use them as a memento, scatter them, or give them to loved ones as a closing gesture during the service.
- You can choose between a traditional metal casket and one made of biodegradable materials for the coffin. Consider dressing and taking care of the body yourself rather than hiring a professional.
- Donating a body: You can give a loved one’s body to a hospital, medical school, or body farm.
There will be plenty of opportunities to converse with other mourners and share memories of your loved one at a freethinker’s funeral. The same anguish and loss that accompany traditional funerals can be anticipated. Depending on the setting and what the family anticipates, you can expect a joyful, relaxed, or solemn atmosphere.
The most crucial aspect of manners is avoiding religion in conversation. If you disagree, it’s best to ignore your beliefs and concentrate on those of your loved ones.
If you attend a non-religious service, you should dress in traditional mourning garb. When deciding what to wear to a funeral, consider the venue. Unless otherwise specified, classic black or other dark colours are a safe choice.
Flowers, Cards, & Other Items, As Well As Gifts
Consider the family’s preferences while bringing a gift. Non-religious funerals are not subject to any rigid regulations. Consider sending traditional flowers or a card with a brief sympathy message. Some families request contributions to a cause or to pay for funeral costs.
You could send a kind card a week or two after the funeral if the family doesn’t request gifts.
Funerals for freethinkers don’t follow a formula. Even though they may be melancholy or unassumingly happy celebrations of life, the deceased individual is always the main subject of attention. If you find yourself becoming lost in the planning, remember what they would have preferred and leave your beliefs out.
Family members might alter your funeral preferences to reflect their religious beliefs, whether you want a freethinker or a traditional service. It’s best to plan wherever possible. Take charge of the funeral arrangements. Otherwise, ICareFuneral FreeThinker Funeral Service would be more than happy to help. Our experts will be able to handle services with the utmost care. Please contact us for more details or any special requests you might have.