Person Who Carries the Casket | Pallbearers

Funerals that involves caskets requires the right "person who carries the casket" in which people call them as "Pallbearers". It is their responsibility to help carry or escort the casket right into the burial site.

The most common question is that, "Why are they called pallbearers?".

Pallbearers actually came from two words which are "Pall" and "Bearers". The word pall actually refers to a decorative cloth that is draped over the coffin. If you have seen or attended any military or state funerals, you must have noticed the National Flag draped over the coffin which is referred as the pall. As for the word bearers, I think that's already self-explanatory. But just in case that you do not know, it is an act of "carrying" or "holding" something.


In the past, the original duty of pallbearers was simply to walk alongside those that carries the casket. Their main job was just actually to make sure that the pall will not fall-off (which often caused by winds) from the coffin. Since most funerals sees them as unnecessary, they got rid of them. However, the title of their role was passed down to those that carries the coffin which seem to fit much better on their purpose.

Who Can Become Pallbearers?

The pallbearers who are authorized to carry the casket actually depends on your culture. When it comes to most Western Cultures, the pallbearers are usually close friends, family members, relatives, associates of the deceased person or can be anyone else. They can also be either men or women as long as they are fit enough to hold the coffin.

In some other cultures particularly in Asian countries, the pallbearers are individuals that must not be related or does not have any connection to the deceased person. Thus, the family of the deceased will have to hire pallbearers and pay for their services.

Carrying the Casket

Traditional caskets actually consists of six handles. Three handles on each side. This allows six pallbearers to carry the casket. But today, there are some caskets with a total of eight handles. There are two additional handles on the front and back sides of the casket. As a result, a total of eight pallbearers can carry the coffin which is a less burden of weight for them.

It is actually very important that pallbearers must be strongly fit enough to carry the casket or they may end up dropping the coffin on the ground. If you have chosen a family member, relative or somebody who is close enough to the deceased then you have to make sure that he or she does not suffer any deep emotional distress.

If it happens that a certain member of the family wants to become one of the pallbearers but shows signs of incapability then you can ask them to become "Honorary Pallbearers". They are also considered pallbearers but simply walks along with the coffin-carriers at either the front, side or behind. The good part is that, there is no limitation to the number to honorary pallbearers.

What Happens If No One Wants to Become a Pallbearer?

An interesting question came into my mind thinking about what happens to your casket if there is no single person in the world who cares about you? Surely, none will carry your casket on your funeral.

On my search for the answer, if you have the money and already made a full advance payment to a certain Funeral Home service before you died then they will be the one who will take good care of everything which include paid pallbearers who will carry your casket into your final resting ground or gravesite. However, if you don't have the money then you will end up being cremated which doesn't requires casket and pallbearers.