What is a Pallbearer?
Traditionally, a pallbearer is associated as being one of a group of people chosen to carry the coffin of the loved one from the hearse into the church, crematorium or cemetery chapel.
While this is one of the most widely-recognised responsibilities of a pallbearer, it does not necessarily mean that all pallbearers will carry the coffin. Those chosen can be someone who escorts the coffin on its ceremonial journey, instead. Being a pallbearer, therefore, acts more as a symbol of your relationship to the deceased.
Carrying a Coffin
At a funeral service there are typically between four and six pallbearers selected to escort the coffin or casket throughout the funeral service. Together, they guide the deceased to and from the funeral venue.
It is important to remember that, when carrying a coffin or casket, the person inside is always carried feet first – the only exception is a vicar, who is carried head first to face their congregation. Coffins are carried feet first simply because of health and safety, rather than any kind of ceremonial tradition. An empty wooden coffin typically weighs around 20kg, with their design meaning they are top heavy. Carrying a coffin with the feet first helps keep it balanced and also means the deceased is being handled with great care. The funeral director will provide instructions on how to take the coffin.