Historically, pallbearers were essential to carry the coffin from the ceremony to the graveside. Today, the role of the pallbearer has become symbolic.
Some funeral directors have bearers to carry the coffin on their shoulders, with the funeral director walking a few paces in front.
However, many mourners now prefer to carry the coffin themselves wherever possible. It can be regarded as a mark of respect for family and friends to perform this duty, whether carrying the coffin or bearing it on their shoulders.