"Bali: Mass Cremation Ceremony" Top 5 Page for this destination Indonesia Off The Beaten Path Tip by jungles
Indonesia Off The Beaten Path: 135 reviews and 139 photos
If you find yourself in Bali in August, ask around to find out in which villages mass cremation ceremonies (Ngaben Massal) will be held while you are there. It is an event that only takes place once a year in August in each of the various regions around Bali, and all the people who died in the previous year are cremated. The process at the ceremony we attended went something like this: All the bones of the deceased were placed in a purpose-built pagoda-like tower (bade), which was then carried by dozens of men to a cemetery. The bones were then transferred to a purpose-built sarcophagus in the shape of a lion lembu) - this took about 2 hours as they sarchophagus was not big enought to accommodate all the bones and offerings, so they had to tear it apart a bit and keep stuffing everything in until it finally fit. Then the lion was set on fire and the bones of 153 people and all the offerings placed for the the gods went up in smoke.
Seeing this local festival was one of the great highlights of the trip, the kind of thing we had hoped to see in Kalimantan but didn't. There were only about 20-25 tourists among several thousand locals, so it felt very "real." If you have several options, the more remote the village the better. When we were in Ubud we saw preparations being made for a cremation ceremony there, but they were actually selling tickets to tourists to attend!
The website below has a very detailed description of a cremation ceremony, along with photos. While the one we saw was much larger than the one described, I believe the practices are the same.
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