How To Carry A Casket In A Funeral?

Being asked to become a pallbearer for a deceased loved one is considered as a mark of respect for a close friend or family member.

However, individuals who have never carried a casket in a funeral tend to be nervous and apprehensive about this task.


Thus, if you have any doubts, you can ask your funeral director to help you learn and even show you the proper way of carrying a casket.

Basically, you need to rest the casket on your shoulder and then extend your arm underneath either to hold the other side or put it on the shoulder of another pallbearer on the other side.

It can also be carried low, by the handles. This is particularly good when carrying the casket on slippery or uneven ground.

However, when planning to carry the casket or coffin low, make sure the handles are strong and can reliably bear the weight.

More often than not, the family members choose about six pallbearers to carry the casket into the church and out to the cemetery. If there are no suitable candidates for this task, then the casket is carried by the funeral home staff.

Tips for Carrying a Casket in a Funeral

  • Listen to the instructions from the Funeral Director with full attention.
  • Work with all the pallbearers as a team.
  • Make sure the set pallbearers on each side are of the same height.
  • Keep the casket or coffin close to your body while handling it.
  • Walk slowly and steadily; try to coordinate your steps with the person who is in front of you.
  • When carrying the casket to the grave, consider lowering it and holding it by handles before reaching the grave. If the handles are not strong enough, you may use webbing passed through the handles.
  • Avoid wearing tight, uncomfortable clothing and unsuitable footwear that may impair movement. Needless to say, keep your cell phone off, or else it might create disturbance.

It is believed that after death, the body tends to become heavy and thus, it is difficult to carry. The body, however, does not actually become heavy but seems so because it becomes stiff and there is no support from the muscles that help an individual level and his weight.

Thus, it is recommended to avoid jerky movements when carrying the body so that it does not slide or move within the casket but stays in its position.

Suggested Readings

Wikipedia- Pallbearer

Funeral Homes Guide- Selecting A Pallbearer

A to Z of Manners & Etiquette- Pallbearers: Funeral Etiquette

HowStuffWorks- How Dying Works, The Body After Death

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