Pall (cloth)

A pall is a cloth which covers a casket at funerals. [CathEncy|wstitle=Pall] The word comes from the Latin "pallium" (cloak), through Old English. [ pall - Definitions from ] ]

The use of a rich cloth pall to cover the coffin during the funeral grew during the Middle Ages; initially these were brightly coloured and patterned, only later black, and later still white. They were usually then given to the Church to use for vestments or other decorations. [Françoise Piponnier and Perrine Mane; "Dress in the Middle Ages"; p. 151, Yale UP, 1997; ISBN 0300069065]

The rules for the pall's color and use vary depending on religious and cultural traditions. Commonly today palls are pure white, to symbolize the white clothes worn during baptism, and the joyful triumph over death brought about by the Resurrection. The colour is not fixed, though, and may vary with the liturgical season. Traditionally, it was common for the pall, as well as the vestments of the clergy to be black. The pall will often be decorated with a cross, often running the whole length of the cloth from end to end in all four directions, signifying the sovereignty of Christ's triumph over sin and death on the cross.

The pall is placed on the coffin as soon as it arrives at the church, and will remain on the coffin during all of proceedings in the church. If the family members wish to view the deceased, this would normally be done previously at the funeral home before the coffin is brought to the church; but customs will vary from denomination to denomination. The pall will be removed at the graveside, just before the coffin is lowered into the ground. But if the remains are to be cremated, there will be a curtain which the pall-covered coffin will go through, and behind which the pall will be removed.

Military funerals often use the nation's flag as a pall. In the United Kingdom, members of the Royal Family or the peerage may use a flag bearing their arms as a pall.


ee also

*Christian burial

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pall — • A heavy, black cloth, spread over the coffin in the church at a funeral, or over the catafalque at other services for the dead. Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Pall     Pall      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Pall — Pall, n. [OE. pal, AS. p[ae]l, from L. pallium cover, cloak, mantle, pall; cf. L. palla robe, mantle.] 1. An outer garment; a cloak mantle. [1913 Webster] His lion s skin changed to a pall of gold. Spenser. [1913 Webster] 2. A kind of rich stuff… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pall — [n] cloud, gloom cloak, cloth, covering, damp, damper, dismay, mantle, melancholy, shadow, shroud, veil; concepts 620,674 Ant. brightness, excitement, happiness pall [v] bore, tire become dull, become tedious, cloy, disgust, fill, glut, gorge,… …   New thesaurus

  • pall — Ⅰ. pall [1] ► NOUN 1) a cloth spread over a coffin, hearse, or tomb. 2) a dark cloud of smoke, dust, etc. 3) an enveloping air of gloom or fear. 4) an ecclesiastical pallium. ORIGIN Latin pallium covering, cloak . Ⅱ …   English terms dictionary

  • pall — pall1 [pôl] vi. palled, palling [ME pallen, aphetic for appallen,APPALL] 1. to become cloying, insipid, boring, wearisome, etc. 2. to become satiated or bored vt. to satiate, bore, or disgust pall2 [pôl] n …   English World dictionary

  • Pall, Funeral — • A black cloth usually spread over the coffin while the obsequies are performed for a deceased person Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Pall (funeral) — Funeral procession arriving at the church. The coffin is covered with an elaborate red pall. Heures d Étienne Chevalier (Musée Condé, Chantilly) A pall (also called mortcloth) is a cloth which covers a casket or coffin at funerals.[1] …   Wikipedia

  • pall — pall1 pall like, adj. /pawl/, n. 1. a cloth, often of velvet, for spreading over a coffin, bier, or tomb. 2. a coffin. 3. anything that covers, shrouds, or overspreads, esp. with darkness or gloom. 4. Eccles. a. pallium (def. 2b). b. a linen …   Universalium

  • pall — I [[t]pɔl[/t]] n. 1) something that covers, shrouds, or overspreads, esp. with darkness or gloom 2) a cloth for spreading over a coffin, bier, or tomb 3) a coffin 4) rel a) pallium 2) b) a linen cloth or a square cloth covered piece of cardboard… …   From formal English to slang

  • pall — 1. noun /pɔːl,pɔl,pɑl/ a) fine cloth, especially purple cloth used for robes Thirty years or so later, a woman was put to death for stealing the purple pall from his sarcophagus, a strange, crazy crime, b) a cloth used for various purposes on the …   Wiktionary

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