How to Carry a Coffin: Guide for Carrying a Coffin at Funeral

Dec 2, 2022

There is a lot to consider when arranging a funeral. You have to consider whether the deceased will be buried or cremated while you will also need to think about where the service will take place. There is a lot to think about but have you thought about how to carry a coffin at a funeral? This is not something that you do regularly and that means that you’ve probably never considered it. Therefore, when the time comes to carry a coffin, it can help to understand what it entails.

Preparing to carry a casket is difficult and most won’t know how to do it, so if you have been asked to be a pallbearer then it can help to understand how a coffin should be carried.

How Many People Carry a Coffin?

This will depend on the size of the coffin but in general, carrying the coffin will involve around 6 to 8 people. The average number is six but there is no need for pallbearers to be tall or strong because the role is not restricted to certain people.

How Heavy Coffin Is?

One thing that does surprise many people during a funeral is the weight of the coffin when they lift it. It is not just a case of lifting the body of the deceased individual but it is also the weight of the coffin itself and that is why several people are required to help lift it. In some instances, a coffin can weigh as much as 125 kg and more.

Can Anyone Carry Coffin at a Funeral?

Most people have the ability to carry coffins as the role of pallbearer is not restricted to certain people. They don’t need to be tall, able-bodied, or strong but it is more about working together with others to hold and carry the coffin safely and respectfully.

How to Carry Coffin in Different Heights?

Ideally, pallbearers must be similar in height as this will help to keep the coffin level. Of course, this is not always simple to put in place and so, shorter people should go at the front of the coffin and taller people should be put at the back.

What Way Should a Coffin be Carried?

It is tradition for a coffin to be carried with the feet first. This can often be identified by the way in which the coffin tapers at one end. However, there are different styles of coffins which means some aren’t as easy to identify.

Carrying a Coffin on Shoulders

You can lift the casket and carry it on your shoulders if required. This looks like a respectful way to carry the coffin although you will have to remember that it will put a strain on the shoulders and arms. However, it is also considered to be a safe way to carry a coffin if the ground is uneven.

Essentials You Need To Know

1. Safety First

Safety is vital when carrying a coffin, even if the family requests that you carry it, you should consider safety. This might include your physical health but also the location where it will be carried too, as you want to avoid any problems and accidents.

2. Lift Correctly

The key to successfully carrying a coffin is to ensure that you lift it correctly. All pallbearers will have to lift the coffin in tandem using the handles if they are load-bearing.

3. Plan it Out

If you plan in advance then this can help the lifting and carrying of the coffin to avoid problems. This will involve checking the pathway to make sure there are no obstacles, you might also want to make sure there are no obstacles above your head. Consider steps, uneven ground, and low doorways. It is also important to make sure that pallbearers are similar in height.

4. Consider the Weight

A casket can weigh a considerable amount and in some cases, then can weigh over 125kgs. The combination of the weight of the deceased individual and the casket can weigh more than you might realise.

5. Walk Slowly

When moving with the coffin, this is a time to be respectful and this is done by carrying the casket at a slow pace. It is also safer to walk slowly but your funeral director will give you instructions by telling you when to move off with your left foot, ensuring you all walk at the same pace and rhythm.

6. Keep in Level

At all times, you should also ensure that the casket remains as level as possible. This includes walking up and down steps but you have to keep it level to make sure that anything on top of the coffin remains in place such as flowers. It will also help to maintain safety and will ensure that everyone is comfortable.

7. Use One Hand When Holding the Handle

When carrying the casket, it is important that you only hold the handle with one hand. Only when picking up or raising the casket should you use two hands.

8. It’s not Headfirst

It might not seem like something you would have to consider but it is respectful to ensure that the deceased person enters feet first. The right end of the coffin can often be identified by the shape of the coffin as it usually tapers at the foot end of the coffin.

By following these guidelines, you can contribute to a meaningful and respectful funeral service. If you need further information or assistance with funeral arrangements, please visit our burial services page for comprehensive guidance.


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