How We Celebrate HumanLight

What happens at a HumanLight celebration?

Humanists tend to shy away from rigid thinking and rituals. Therefore, the specific events and activities involved in any HumanLight celebration will vary from place to place and are open to the invention and creativity of those who are celebrating. However, not everyone likes to start from scratch, and the easiest approach to developing a holiday celebration event is to borrow from what others have done.

There are many ideas and suggestions below for how to celebrate HumanLight.  And of course we encourage you to be creative in developing new fun and meaningful traditions that are in keeping with the meaning of the holiday!

Also, keep in mind that although it is wonderful to be able to gather with a larger community, HumanLight can be celebrated at home, with a small gathering of family and friends.

No matter how you choose to celebrate HumanLight, we request, and strongly encourage, that you follow three basic guiding principles, which can be applied to any kind of celebration activity:

1.  Your event/activity should, in some way or to some extent, celebrate and express the positive values of Humanism.  How this is done, and to what degree, will vary from a little to a lot, depending on the interests of those involved.
2.  Your event/activity should NOT be critical of, or negative towards, religious people and religious holidays such as Christmas.  This is fundamental to the meaning and purpose of HumanLight.  And it is more welcoming to the larger community — so that our religious friends and family might be comfortable attending.  HumanLight is not intended to be anti-Christmas, or to secularize Christmas in any way.
3.  If possible, your event/activity should endeavor to be family-friendly and welcoming to children, so that families with children will not hesitate to attend with them.  This helps express the community-building and family bonding aspects of the holiday, which are key.

unicycle juggler-2011

However you choose to mark the occasion, it’s very important to remember that HumanLight is meant to be a festive holiday that focuses on the positive aspects of humanity, compassion, reason and hope. Criticism of religious people or their holidays is not consistent with the intended message or meaning of HumanLight. Please avoid it during HumanLight celebrations. Most participants in HumanLight celebrations greatly appreciate the positive and uplifting atmosphere, which can make the holiday celebration very rewarding.

You might like to include any of the following suggestions at a HumanLight celebration:

  • Some kind of shared meal: family dinner at home, catered meal for a large group event, or a potluck dinner.  Most social gatherings are better when eating (and drinking) together is involved!
  • A candle-lighting ceremony.  Some have developed the tradition of lighting three colored candles (blue, red, yellow) to symbolically represent both the colors of the HumanLight symbol, and the values of Reason, Compassion and Hope.
  • Decorations!  Some have used a color-scheme for holiday decorations that uses three colors based upon the HumanLight symbol: Red, Blue and Gold/Yellow.  Many different kinds of decorative materials are widely available in red, blue and gold/yellow.  Be creative!
  • A wide range of tree ornaments, mugs, greeting cards, postcards and other items with the HumanLight symbol are available from CafePress on our Merchandise Page.
  • Short readings from the work of a well known humanist-oriented author or leader.
  • Short talks by a humanist-oriented community leader, or a group discussion.
  • We emphasize short readings or talks, because we think a HumanLight celebration should not be an occasion for long lectures, speeches or debates.
  • Collecting charitable donations, such as food for a local community food bank.
  • A silent auction to raise charitable donations. (for example, supporting The Foundation Beyond Belief).
  • Performing a community service project together as a group.
  • Educational entertainment, such as a professional science demonstration for kids.
  • Some celebrations have featured entertainment such as magicians, jugglers, comedians, karaoke, as well as musicians (see more info below about music).
  • Children’s activities related to Humanism or HumanLight, such as a HumanLightWordSearch.  Or other activities such as face-painting, jigsaw puzzles, a crafts table for making decorations.
  • Hand out (or sell) copies of the Affirmation of Humanism for Kids Coloring Books for children.
  • White Elephant Gift Exchange.
  • Video excerpts from nature programs such as: Life on Earth, Cosmos or other appropriate films and television programs.
  • Dancing: ballroom and/or contemporary.  A show/performance by dancers, or group participation.


  • Many people enjoy a live musical performance at their public group celebrations.  Jazz, folk and classical music performances have been done.
  • Audience sing-a-longs to, or playing a recording of, popular songs that are appropriate to HumanLight, such as: “Imagine” by John Lennon (lyrics), or “Holiday” by Madonna (lyrics).
  • Can you suggest any other songs that are appropriate? Please let us know!
  • Some original HumanLight songs have been composed and they could be played or performed:
    • “HumanLight” (lyrics) and “Decorate the Tree of Knowledge”, both by NY-based musician Sonny Meadows, on his CD “Let the Light Shine”: available from the artist or on our merchandise page
    • These Three Flames” by Monty Harper: lyrics, music and a recording are available here
    • “HumanLight Song” by Sara Brown (lyrics and music)
String Theory -2007


A helpful article has been written on to briefly explain “how to celebrate HumanLight” Click here.


Publicity / Media outreach:  Local news media are often interested in hearing about a new holiday being celebrated in the community.  You can issue a Press Release to local media. Here is a sample press release you can use as a template.


Here are Images you can use to make posters or banners:
HumanLight symbol (New):

HumanLight Poster (English)
HumanLight Poster (en français – French, with Classic symbol)

You can also make your own HumanLight flyers to distribute.

Here are some examples of HumanLight wallpaper images:
Celebrating Reason, Compassion, Hope
HumanLight Candle
HumanLight Bells


JFK quote -2011