Balinese Hindu’s believe in reincarnation and death is an important rite of passage involving a cremation ceremony to release the soul.
For the Balinese, existence is an ongoing cycle of life, death and rebirth. With this in mind, the passing of a loved is a time to grieve as well as celebrate the journey towards oneness with God Almighty. Balinese death rites can be quite complex and involve a series of symbolic rituals. Often no expense is sparred in this final send-off and a cremation ceremony can be quite taxing on a family’s time and resources. The whole process requires participation from all relatives as well as neighbours from within the local community.
On the day of the cremation, the body of the deceased is placed inside an elaborate tower that has different tiers to represent the Balinese Hindu universe. It is then carried at midday in a noisy procession from the family home to the nearest cremation ground. Special offerings are also brought the site to implore God to purify the spirit of the deceased person so that it can later return to earth in an appropriately higher and purer form.
Once the body is placed on the funeral pyre, it is set alight to be consumed by flames and reduced to ash. During this fiery process, an attending priest will recite sacred mantras as everyone kneels down to pray. Only after cremation can the soul completely detach itself from the body. Other rituals are performed over the following days and months whereby the purified spirit of the deceased is installed in the family temple as a defied ancestor awaiting rebirth.