An unfortunate part of the deep social connections we cultivate with others throughout our lives is ultimately having to say goodbye. When someone passes on, no matter our religion or culture, there is a universal need to remember them and honor the life they lived.

With over 26% of U.S. adults describing their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or simply “nothing in particular,” nonreligious funeral services are becoming more and more common. Here we take a look at what aspects to include when planning a nonreligious funeral service.

Core components of a funeral

A nonreligious funeral simply means the services are not tied to rituals or beliefs of any particular religion. Many of the same memorial traditions can still be used in a nonreligious way. The main elements of a funeral service include:

  • Reception — A reception is when people gather together and express support and sympathy for the bereaved. This can also include a viewing of the body of the departed, something that can help mourners acknowledge the reality of their death and begin the grieving process.
  • Music — Music often expresses what words cannot. It is an important part of funeral services as it evokes emotion and invites people to express grief. In a nonreligious service, music that was significant to the person who passed or songs that remind their loved ones of them can be incorporated.
  • Readings — Readings can bring aspects of the person who passed to life in a special way. Perhaps they had a favorite book or poem, or maybe they dabbled in writing themselves. All of these make great choices for readings. Family and loved ones can also select nonreligious readings that they connect with to help them remember the departed.
  • Eulogy — A eulogy is an opportunity to share the legacy the deceased leaves behind and honor the life they lived. In a nonreligious service, this can be delivered by a celebrant, family member, friend or even a series of people close to the person who passed.

Incorporating these fundamental funeral traditions will ensure those who attend the nonreligious service find it both healing and meaningful.

Help when you need it

A properly planned and executed funeral service can help mourners feel they have honored the life of their loved one. It can also be the first healthy step on their grief journey. If you are planning a nonreligious funeral service in the Racine, Kenosha or Milwaukee area, Strouf Funeral Home is here to make the process easier for you. With almost 100 years of experience, we can help you design a creative memorial gathering that celebrates the life of your loved one.