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Ngaben: A unique Balinese funeral traditions

Generally in Indonesia, the corpse will be buried in the ground. But some ethnic groups have different ways, especially Balinese Hindus. They have a special ceremony named Ngaben โ€“ when the deceased will be cremated โšฑ๏ธ In preparation, it takes months and all of the people in the villages work together for the successful Ngaben ritual. We have compiled some interesting information about Ngaben which definitely will amaze you! ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

^ Witnessing the rare ceremony

Ngaben ritual was performed in a festive and exciting atmosphere. Hundred to thousand people including family members, friends, neighbors, and even random people on the street โ€“ gathered together.

Up to a hundred guys carried some colorful funeral towers and a cow statue that contains the deceased. The orchestra played traditional songs on the back which makes the ritual lively ๐ŸŽถ

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^ Uniting with Hindus God

Balinese Hindus believe that cremation release the soul of the dead, allows it to have a journey to heaven and rejoin the Hindu cycle of reincarnation. The soul-releasing is believed as a medium for the soul to unite with God. When holding a cremation ceremony, it can be a sign that the family left behind has accepted the death of the family member ๐Ÿฅ€

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^ Panca Maha Bhuta

One of the purposes of Ngaben is to return all of the Panca Maha Bhutaโ€™s element โ€“ it is the main elements which โ€˜buildโ€™ humanโ€™s features ๐Ÿšถ

  • Akasa : Ether elements
  • Bayu : Air elements
  • Teja : Light elements
  • Apah : Liquid elements
  • Perthiwi : Solid elements

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^ Various types of Ngaben ceremony in Bali

1. Ngaben Sawa Wedana
The corpse remains in the intact and undamaged form โ€“ it is not buried beforehand ๐Ÿ’€

2. Ngaben Asti Wedana
The corpse has been buried beforehand โšฐ๏ธ

3. Ngaben Swasta
The corpse is not at the ritual location โ€“ it is possible when the deceased is in a very far place, or when the body cannot be found, etc โœˆ๏ธ

4. Ngaben Ngelungah
The corpse is a child who has not yet lost their baby teeth ๐Ÿฆท

5. Ngaben Warak Kruron
The corpse is a baby who was dead before they were born into the world ๐Ÿ‘ผ

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^ Burning the cow

The coffin used in the Ngaben ritual is in the form of a cow. Balinese Hindus believe that a cow is a sacred animal ๐Ÿ„ The burning process is using the high-pressure gas fire that can burn the wood wraps quickly. Usually, in the middle of the burning process, local residents and colleagues perform a prayer. After the body has become ash, the burned corpse will be thrown into the open sea.

May the soul of the deceased be at peace ๐Ÿ™

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References

Hays, J. (2008). FUNERAL AND DEATH IN BALI | Facts and Details. Retrieved from Facts and Detailsโ€™s website http://factsanddetails.com/indonesia/Minorities_and_Regions/sub6_3h/entry-4025.html

  • Kintamani ID. Upacara Ngaben, Ritual Mengantar Kepergian Jenazah dari Bali. Retrieved from https://www.kintamani.id/upacara-ngaben-ritual-mengantar-kepergian-jenazah-dari-bali-006232.html
  • Richo. (2013). Ngaben Upacara Membakar Raga. Retrieved from Kita Kemanaโ€™s website http://vespabackpacker.blogspot.com/2013/08/ngaben-upacara-membakar-raga.html
  • Sumarya, I. M. (2010). Panca Mahabhuta Sebagai Anasir Dasar Penyusun Alam Semesta. Retrieved from Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia Pusatโ€™s website http://phdi.or.id/artikel/panca-mahabhuta-sebagai-anasir-dasar-penyusun-alam-semesta



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