A Conversation for Southern USA Burial Customs

Not just a southern thing.

Post 1

Researcher Jolietristan

That is done all over the U.S. Yes, it is usually done in the small rurual towns, because there the families are usually too poor to have someone else cover the grave for them. It is also another way to say good-bye to a loved one. I have lived in many different states, and been to a lot of burials for friends and relatives. Some in big towns and some in small towns. But always something was thrown on the coffin; be it a flower or a shovel full of dirt. I don't know where the custom somes from, but my family has always done the shovel & flower thing. Usually, the women would toss in the flower and the men would do the shovel full of dirt.

Not just a southern thing.

Post 2


In the West of Ireland, where I come from, the custom not only includes filling in the grave but actually digging it. It's not usually done by immediate family but it's considered an honour among extended family and friends to be asked to dig the deceased's grave and fill it in afterwards. It may seem slightly morbid but it is a tradition borne out of the desire to ensure that the deceased passes safely and comfortably into the next life. Also, in rural Ireland, people are buried in small local cemetaries that are tended by the community and the families of the people interred there. These cemetaries wouldn't have full time professional grave diggers or pall bearers.

Not just a southern thing.

Post 3


Pall bearers are common here in Wales, too, especially for the funerals of older people. Nephews are a usual choice, and it is considered an honour. Pall bearers here tend to actually "bear the pall" - that is, they carry the coffin on their shoulders. In recent royal funerals, soldiers have acted as pall-bearers, both carrying and escortig the coffins.

Not just a southern thing.

Post 4


Does anyone have thoughts about how such an honor might be conveyed in case of cremation? Maybe my in-laws felt slighted because they weren't asked to be pall bearers, when indeed, it did not occur to me to have any since my late husband was cremated...

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