Having pallbearers at a funeral is a common tradition among many religions; however, many may not be familiar with this practice - especially if one has never attended a service before.
Pallbearers are individuals who are respected by the deceased and may have had a close relationship to him or her. These individuals are chosen - either in preplanning by the departed or their loved ones - to carry the casket or coffin to the burial site. For many, this ritual carries great significance and offers closure to the surviving family members.
Who Can Be a Pallbearer?
Although the numbers can vary, typically six to eight individuals are asked to be pallbearers. Pallbearers are generally adults that may have had any type of relationship with the deceased. These selected individuals can range from family members to neighbors and from close friends to business partners. While many may associate men as pallbearers, women can also be asked to fulfill this role.
Active vs. Honorary Pallbearers
Active pallbearers are those individuals who physically carry the casket; however, this honor can be reserved for honorary pallbearers as well. If pallbearers are unable to physically carry the deceased, they may still represent this position; funeral home or church members can help assist with the duty.
It is often a great honor to be asked to serve as a pallbearer in a burial, and in most cases, individuals should accept this role if asked. When unable to attend the service - whether ill or unable to travel - it may be possible to be an honorary pallbearer. In terms of how to dress, pallbearers will wear typical funeral attire - such as a dark suit and tie.
Most pallbearers will be given a gift to commemorate the deceased - such as a photo. Although fulfilling this role upon request, pallbearers should remember to send a thank you note to the family for being asked to take part in this special moment.