Cremation Ceremony in Bali
One of the most spectacular ceremonies in Bali is probably the cremation ceremony. In Balinese this ceremony is called Ngaben. Ofcourse, like any ceremony in Bali, the cremation ceremony’s size and spectacle depends on the importance of the deceased, and the money spend. While the poorest of the Balinese are buried, and finally cremated in group cremations, the people with some more money to spend are cremated right away.
Ngaben or the Cremation Ceremony is the ritual performed to send the dead through the transition to his next life. The village Kul Kul, hanging in the tower of the village temple, will sound a certain beat to announce the departure of the deceased. The body of the deceased will be placed at Bale Delod, as if he were sleeping, and the family will continue to treat him as if he were still alive yet sleeping. No tears are shed, for he is only gone temporarily and he will reincarnate into the family.
The Priest consults the Dewasa to determine the proper day for the ceremony. On the day of the ceremony, the body of the deceased is placed inside a coffin which is then placed inside a sarcophagus in the form of a buffalo (called Lembu) or a temple structure called Wadah made of paper and light wood. The Wadah will be carried to the village cremation site in a procession.
Before we go head – there are several caste in Bali which
- Brahmana the highest caste is the Priest
- Satria ( cokorda )is normally the king
- Wesia is the merchant
- Sudra –is the lowest caste – this the biggest population in Bali .
The language from lower to highest caste is bit different too – which more polite and less casual talk if meet or visit Brahmana house.
So – if the priest pass away – they can not buried the body – because the holy man can not touch the earth again- thier soul should go straight way to the air. The rest of the caste can buried and attached them to the earth for awhile- again its depend on the family financial.
If the family have a good financial they may do cremation ceremony within a week or a month – if the family have a problem with financial so they buried the body for a while – then when they can afford then do the cremations ceremony.
The cremation ceremony can cost a lot money –because of the preparation and others thing. Now they have group (massal) ceremony which help poor family to do cremation – which really a good idea. The way work is the community will gathering with the family who has their family died still cannot afford to do cremations.
The community will help to raise the finance and the those family just contributes a certain of amounts money . Normally a group (massal) cremation held every 5 years and now they try to reduce in to 2 or 3 years .
Before climax ceremony, all family members will give their last respect and begun to pray in order the deceased will somehow get a better place in heaven. Afterward the corpse will be put into wadah and carried to graveyard, followed by flock of people and gamelan (Balinese traditional music) and “kidung suci” (holy mantra). In front of the wadah, there will be placed a long piece of kasa (white cloth) heading the ways of the deceased soul to reach their eternal abode.
Ever past T-junction or crossroad, wadah will be turned clockwise three times in order the soul will not return to his or her home. Arrive at the graveyard, the corpse then will transferred to lembu, followed by mantra chanting by the priest and the lembu will be burnt and it ash carried to sea or river. When all ceremony had been completed, the deceased considered as ancestor, who believed will reincarnate into their family.