How to Carry a Casket

Updated February 21, 2017

Traditionally, the people who carry the casket -- usually called pallbearers -- were in charge of carrying the casket from the site of the service to the site of the burial. These days, cars and wheeled carts do most of the work, but you might still be asked to carry a casket. If it's your first time, you may be nervous, but you'll find that it's not a very difficult task. Fortunately, several others will join you in carrying the casket.

Listen to any special instructions from the funeral director. He'll tell you when you are responsible for carrying the casket and may assign you a position around the casket, along with the other pallbearers.

Take your place alongside the casket. Traditionally, it takes six or eight pallbearers. You may each have an individual handle, or each side of the casket may have a single handle that spans the length of the casket.

Grip your handle.

Lift the casket at the same time as the other pallbearers. Bend your knees, and lift with your legs rather than your back or arms. Your arm can be straight by your side -- you do not have to bend it to lift the casket higher.

Walk slowly to the destination. Most likely, you will carry the casket from inside the church to the car waiting outside, and then from the car to the grave site.


Wear understated, dark clothes if you are chosen to be a pallbearer.

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About the Author

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.