Humanist memorial ceremonies

What is a humanist memorial ceremony?

Like a humanist funeral, a humanist memorial is a non-religious ceremony that is about the person who has died, the life they led, the relationships they forged, and the legacy they leave, based on the humanist perspective that every life is individual and valuable. There is no coffin present at a memorial, but the occasion may be accompanied by a scattering of ashes, or their interment in the earth, and our celebrants can advise on this.

A humanist memorial ceremony is conducted by a humanist celebrant and it is both a celebration of a life and a dignified, personal farewell – ideal for families who want a sincere, personal reflection on the life of their loved ones without having a religious dimension to the ceremony.

A memorial ceremony allows people to come together to grieve, remember, and celebrate a life lived. Such ceremonies can take place anywhere that is suitable and fitting, and at any time. Planning is intrinsic to the success of a memorial, and can be a comforting process. It can take place over any period of time agreed with the celebrant.

Each humanist memorial is unique and there are no rules about what ‘must’ be included, or in what order. The content is up to you. It can include a tribute and any music, readings, poetry, or symbolic gestures you choose.

Our celebrants

When unable to meet in person, our funeral celebrants will help families to plan memorial ceremonies by telephone, Google Meet, or Skype. They will spend time getting to know a loved one’s life story, and work with the family to draft a meaningful, fitting tribute.

Where can you hold a memorial ceremony?

You may hold the ceremony wherever you choose – at home, the town hall, a garden, the local park, or even at the beach or a local pub.

Humanist celebrants have a great deal of experience in conducting memorial services outdoors. In the event of the coronavirus virus still being present in the population when the memorial service is held, holding a memorial ceremony outdoors makes it easier for mourners to avoid close contact.

Live-streaming a memorial ceremony

To live-stream a memorial ceremony so that guests who are unable to attend can participate online, there needs to be an internet connection, camera, microphone and a delivery service or app (such as Periscope or Facebook Live). This would need to be checked out in advance at the venue/location.

Further information

For more information about humanist funerals, visit our FAQ page or watch this short video.

Find a celebrant

If you would like to discuss a funeral or memorial ceremony, you can find your local humanist funeral celebrant via our website.

Find a Celebrant

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Humanist Funerals

Find out more about humanist funerals.

Humanist Ceremonies

Find out more about Humanist Ceremonies.