Generally, funerals customs and traditions are rooted in the different beliefs of particular religions and cultures. The services are performed as per the religion the deceased practiced. But there also exists situations where this is not the case. How are funerals celebrated then?
Atheists are people with an absence of belief in the existence of deities. For them, the funerals are more centered around life. Such services become more appropriate as these people lived without religious affiliations, and they reject the beliefs on life after death. Non-Religious funerals are more like a celebration of life.
Since religion doesn’t indicate what should or should not be done, atheist funerals are open-ended. Some common practices include burial, cremation, and body donation. In case the deceased did not specify, the family can make the required decision. For the atheist service, any time can be chosen. Some conduct it before burial/cremation and some after.
The Atheist service is marked by celebration and capturing the true essence of the lost one. Not only does it honor the deceased, but it also allows the close family and friends to express their sorrow and pain. The event may entail the lost one’s photos/memories, favorite colors, foods, and drinks. All of this gives the guests a chance to reflect on the life of the deceased.
Another special practice for honoring is paying tribute via eulogies. Friends share some funny stories of the deceased to cheer everyone up. Many families even pick up any activity or sports that the lost one loved and then do it together. Some creative memorial ideas include creating a message board, lifting lanterns, planting a memorial tree, starting a book club, or donating to charity.
For music and readings, religious hymns and quotes are not used. Instead, the favorite songs, books, and poems of the lost one are shared. Anything can be selected ranging from classical music to modern favorites. Reading out the favorites quotes and verses of the deceased will do wonders in capturing their essence. You can even read out some spiritual messages about death that the lost one believed. All of this can give a lot of comfort and support to the bereaved family.
When planning a funeral for an atheist try to remember what they would have wanted and keep your own beliefs out. You can even consider hiring funeral services to make the event stress free so you can focus on honoring the deceased.