Pallbearers: What Do They Do & Are They Needed for Cremation?


At a time of grieving, it can be difficult to know what is expected of you. Perhaps you’ve been asked to be a pallbearer for a loved one who has died. Participating in or planning a funeral service can be a complicated task, and it’s important to know all the details, including the roles related to funerals and crematorium services.

As a leading funeral home in Calgary, Country Hills Crematorium offers guidance, resources, and services for families and friends of those who are recently deceased. We want to reassure you that all details of your funeral arrangements are taken care of, and that you remain informed every step of the way. If you are in charge of selecting pallbearers for a service, Country Hills can shine some light on a pallbearer’s particular responsibilities, and share how they can support a grieving family.

Pallbearers are primarily assigned to help carry the casket of the deceased from the funeral service to the burial site, and are typically close family members or friends of the deceased. The family of the deceased typically chooses who will serve as pallbearers; therefore, if you have been asked to be a pallbearer, it is an honour and should not be taken lightly. 

When it comes to cremation, pallbearers may or may not be required, depending on the nature of the service. For example, for a traditional Sikh, Hindu or some Buddhist services the cremation may immediately follow the funeral ceremony. Pallbearers are required to assist in carrying the casket to the crematory. Many funeral homes also offer the option of having “honourary” pallbearers as part of the service. Honourary pallbearers do not take an active part in the service, but may be granted a designated seating area. They are recognized family, community members or friends who the family would like to recognize in a special way. Pallbearers may also participate in other aspects of the funeral service, such as delivering readings or eulogies.

For a traditional funeral service, pallbearers are normally responsible for carrying the casket. There are typically six pallbearers, but this number can vary depending on the size of the casket and the preference of the family. Pallbearers should dress in appropriate clothing and in sensible shoes as cemeteries are often muddy, wet, or icy. Prior to the start of a funeral service, the Country Hills funeral director will address the pallbearers on what they are to do, where they are to sit, and what is expected of them. If you have been chosen to be a pallbearer do not hesitate to ask the director any questions you may have. They are always happy to help.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that serving as a pallbearer is a great honour. It is an opportunity to support the grieving family and pay your respects to the deceased. Keep in mind that as a pallbearer, you will be representing the deceased and their family, so it is important to take your role seriously, and share love and support with one another.

If you have experienced the passing of a loved one, or want more information about funeral services in Calgary to be prepared in the event of a death, please contact Country Hills Crematorium at 403-274-0576.

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