I have noticed that within differing sub-cultures within the same country practices etc. can vary. e.g. some feel it is important for the family to Carry/lower thecoffin while others feel the need for this to be carried out by "the professionals". some families will go in procession with the coffin to the church, have a short private family service and leave the coffin in the church over night whilst other areas assume this is a catholic practice only. Some practices have also altered from one generation to another. I don't see this as a question to which is right/wrong for I'm sure they all meet a specific need for specific people. However, in your locality what customs are applied to give some symbolic means of reaching out for comfort? yours, Jon.