At a funeral, the coffin or casket can be carried either by designated pallbearers as arranged by the funeral directors, or by any of your chosen family members or friends. Find out what to expect if you have been asked to be a pallbearer with our guide below.
When the coffin needs to be carried
Pallbearers are required to carry the coffin from the hearse into the church, crematorium, or funeral service venue. Then, if the body is to be buried, they will also be asked to carry the coffin either back to the hearse or directly to the burial site depending on the distance.
Do pallbearers have to carry the coffin?
Sometimes people are asked to be a pallbearer as a reflection of their relationship with the deceased, and it might not always be necessary to help carry the coffin. Usually the coffin will be carried by four or six pallbearers, and any additional individuals will be invited to escort the coffin alongside it.
What does it mean to be a pallbearer?
Traditionally, a ‘pall’ is the piece of cloth to be draped over the coffin, and a pallbearer was someone who held the cloth before laying it down. Today, however, pallbearers are those who carry or escort the coffin.
The role of pallbearer has become a symbolic one, which displays the love and respect between them and the deceased.
In the event that those who arranged the funeral do not have appropriate people to ask, the funeral director can provide pallbearers.
Find out more about what happens on the day of a funeral, and about the burial or cremation process in particular.
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