Ceremonies, Celebrations and Cremations
Report By Mum
Bali has been a wonderful experience for us all and we are very sad to leave it and especially the people we have met during our stay. Although we are looking forward to Koh Samui in Thailand!
One of the special things about Bali was the amount of ceremonies. They seem to have one at least for every life event and some even just for the sake of it or so it seems.
We were lucky enough to be able to witness some ceremonies happening in the streets. They even have a practice for walking along the road. Maybe this is not such a bad idea as the roads and the driving are mental!
One special ceremony however we attended with Nita, the cook from the villa, was a full moon ceremony. This was held in a temple which is open to everyone. Michael and the boys all wore sarongs and looked brilliant.
Everyone at the temple was very welcoming and gave us a cup of Balinese coffee and a cold drink for the boys. Everyone, including the children were in traditional clothing and looked beautiful.
The men from the area played the gamelan, a musical instrument that is hit with soft hammers. The sound was very good and the priest was chanting prayers while this was happening.
The atmosphere was very relaxed and celebratory and we really enjoyed it. We stayed for about two hours and listened to the music and watched the Balinese people making the offerings. The offerings consisted of food, drink, rice and flowers.
Beach Cremation Ceremony
One ceremony we saw which was quite strange was a cremation on the beach beside the villa. The whole village of Kalisada turned out for it, all 750 people. There is a small temple right next door to the villa, right on the beach.
The body is laid out in a coffin type box made of wicker I think. This is open and the people think of the body as just sleeping before being re-incarnated. This is not a sad ceremony, but a celebration of the life of the person who died.
The ladies from the village all carried offerings, food and drink. The men walked beside the body, which was held up high. They stopped at the small temple on the beach and the ceremony began.
We asked if it was possible to go and see it and we were assured it was okay to do this. Even though it felt a bit voyeuristic it was fascinating.
There was a lot of music and singing although it was very mournful it was quite beautiful. We only stayed for a short time and then retreated to the villa.
The music and singing continued for about an hour. People had some food and drink and then only the immediate family remained with the body, along with the men who perform the cremation.
The fire was then lit and the body started to burn, the singing from the females continued. We listened from the villa and watched the fire burn.
There was a very distinctive smell and although it wasn’t a bad smell it was quite strange. I’m glad the wind was blowing away from us though. Overall the ceremony lasted about four hours.
The ashes from the body were gathered up and then sprinkled into the sea. Not a bad way to go. It was a moving experience - if a little surreal - but we were glad to witness it.
They call Bali the land of smiles, but I think it is the land of ceremonies.