A Balinese funeral is a unique combination of the spirituality of Buddhist and Hindu rites which celebrate a person’s time on Earth and, importantly, their transition to a life after death.
Various elements of the funeral ceremony are spaced out over seven days. At one point relatives of the deceased walk around the funeral pyre carrying offerings and pictures of relatives.
Tourists will be aware of the funeral ‘season’ on the tropical island by the visible presence of massive bamboo towers which will convey a body to a cremation. But these prominent structures are for wealthy Balinese. In most villages and towns throughout the island the cost of a funeral is shared between several families.
In a small coastal town which I look on as a second home, a mass cremation is held about every three years. When a family member dies they are buried in a grave in the local cemetery.
This is a temporary resting place. Over three years enough relatives are ready to move on to a new life. In this ceremony 98 were cremated.
The ceremonial process took seven days culminating in the Ngaben, the cremation, after which the ashes were divided between family members who took them to sea for a final scattering on the element of water, in this case the Badung Strait.
One thought on “A Balinese Funeral: Roger Garwood”
Roger, your photography & words paint a rich cultural picture of life after death in Bali.
Thank you for sharing the experience so explicitly.