Wednesday, February 17, 2010


n Bali, festivals and celebrations are the heart and soul of the culture.So when we saw a tour that was going to view a cremation, it seemed too good to pass up. They don't happen all the time, and the one we attended turned out to be for a village elder who died at 110 years.
The men were all gathered outside the temple waiting to do the heavy lifting later on, while the women were inside making offerings. Many of the men sported t shirts that were printed especially for this cremation. That was the souvenier that Jim wanted.
This is a small view of the very elaborate structure that was all made from tissue paper and gold paper and bamboo. The photo of the deceased is at the top.
This is the framework at the base of the large structure that will be carried by the men of the village from the temple to the cemetery, nearly a kilometer away. Did I mention that it was very hot, full sun and no shade? When the Balinese are talking about how hot it is, you know it is hot! We saw the firetruck, and figured that they were there to put out the flames if they got too high. Actually, they sort of led the parade and periodically sprayed water on the crowd.
This is the large paper mache bull that would eventually contain the body to be cremated.
First it is carried out of the temple in a white coffin, which is carried to the cremation ground. Then a young male family member climbs onto the bull and is also carried along by the crowd to the cremation grounds. There is much merriment throughout the whole process, with the group of carriers trying to give the guy a wild ride. Even the coffin is twisted and turned, so as to confuse the deceased so he does not come back to the village to cause trouble.
At the cremation area, the body is slid from the coffin into the bull, and after much praying by the priests and family (much!) the wood is brought and the bull set on fire.
After being in the hot sun for 3 hours, I thought I might just die, too. But it was interesting to see, and I'm glad we went.


  1. Hi,
    I am so glad that you are having all the experiences of Bali. That is a fairly elaborate bull with the garuda also. I can imagine that you were hot and exhausted. Nobody can mess around like the Balinese at a time like that and it takes ages to get going. You will be filled to the brim with images by the time you go home.

  2. Cynthia, thank you for sending the wonderful
    pictures. I love this bull but apparently
    it won't be around very long.