Bali Villas Blog

Ngaben – Bali’s Powerful Celebration

When visiting Bali, you should not miss Ngaben. It is a cremation ceremony where people will come together in a manner you’ve probably never seen anywhere else. Since the ritual requires a lot of money, you may find someone being cremated a year after his decease. The Balinese believe that we will be reborn to the community we used to live in, and they believe that they should hold a big party or celebration for the people there.

During the ceremony, you will see a celebration with colorful flower and bountiful fruit offerings, music as well as a huge party with lots of food and drink.  That is why the ceremony may happen a year after one’s decease, which is because the family members have to save an adequate amount of money so that they are able to make this sort of celebration for the community.

You may also see several other family members being cremated at once, since this will be able to reduce the cost required. People may grieve, but surely they will also have a celebration spirit. They will be cremated together with the offerings. After the fire dies down, the larger parts of the bone will then be removed, being wrapped gently in a white cloth and then put aside. A large and wide bowl is then used to place the remains and then it is set atop a high lavishly decorated structure rode on 2 lengthy poles. After some prayers, family members then lift everything onto their shoulders as the bones and ashes will be tossed into or drift to the sea or river that is usually considered as sacred.

This powerful party in Bali shows an insightful sense of community gathering together to support the family, as well as the family’s pleasure in making such an amazing celebration. They may grieve the family members’ departure but they also celebrate it with tears and laughter. Everything is right there in one occasion.

Frequently, our funeral services have such sterility. Commonly, people will not show much feeling in the services. Just like the joyful cremation ceremony in Bali, it would be wonderful if we are permissible to sing and cheer, weep and laugh, sob and sway, all without any fear of appearing weird or impolite.

This would be a great gift to be able to throw in a huge party where friends, family as well as community can come together to allow any feelings there are to express.


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