Here at ScotlandShop we love traditions, we also love weddings – I mean, who doesn’t? Traditional weddings however, seem to be becoming a thing very much of the past. Gone are traditional vows, Mendelssohn’s Wedding March and (for many people) religion. Obviously this is not to say that religious ceremonies aren’t still extremely popular, but that a significant number of young couples are opting to break with tradition and turn to something new.
As I said above, many young couples now choose not to have a religious ceremony on their wedding day but this is not to say that they don’t want a ceremony at all. As such Humanism has become an increasingly popular option for these people. Being fairly ignorant of what exactly Humanism is, I spoke to Tim Maguire, a Celebrant with the Caledonian Humanist Association, who’s based in Edinburgh.
You are a Humanist Celebrant, but what exactly is that?
Celebrant is one word for people who conduct – yes, you guessed it, ceremonies! There are other words, like officiant, which sounds a bit officious and a bit official. I prefer celebrant because it sounds like celebrate, which is what my ceremonies do.
Humanism is a diverse movement that represents the views of millions of people around the world. It’s also a very old philosophy that thankfully can be summed up quite quickly; Humanists believe that we should behave towards other people as we would like them to behave towards us, we believe that we can lead good and worthwhile lives guided by reason and compassion, and we believe that there are more things that unite humanity than divide it. The greatest of these things is love.
Why do you think Humanism is becoming more popular?
More than half the population of the UK now say that they’re not religious, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to try to lead a good life, or that they don’t have a sense of right and wrong.
Humanism is all about being responsible for your life, and our ceremonies are about creating meaning: people find their directness and honesty very appealing, and that’s how they want to celebrate life’s great moments.
Of the many ceremonies you have performed in your role as a celebrant, can you think of one that stands out as especially memorable?
I conducted a wedding and a hand fasting for Jo and Rob, two mountaineers, who climbed to the summit of one of our most iconic mountains, Buachaille Etive Mhor, which stands at the southern edge of Glencoe. Being climbers, they used rope, and it could not have been more appropriate. The story was reported in The Daily Mail as well as Scotland on Sunday.
Many thanks to Tim Maguire for giving us some background information on Humanism and his role as a celebrant, if you’d like more information on Humanism and the ceremonies Tim performs, check out his website here. If you’d like to tie the knot with your family’s tartan, we stock handfasting ribbons in over 480 tartans.