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Death And Cremation

By this time the corpse has lost'all importance,' and from this time on, the family is concerned entirely with the soul of the dead person, A most important accessory for the ensuing ceremonies, and the object around which the rites revolve, is the adegan, the effigy in which the soul is embodied to be purified. The adegan consists of two images', one silhouetted out of palm leaf in the traditional tjili shape and a more realistic one drawn on a thin tablet of sandalwood:, bound together and placed- on a, silver vase that rests on a silver platter. Betel-nut, sirih leaves and flowers for praying are placed inside the vase to make the. soul comfortable and, nothing being too good for it the to-do add a third,image made of beaten gold, bracelets, ankleits and a comb of silver.or gold. The person' is written a small label of palm-leaf attached to each adegan. There is effigy for each corpse, but only the adegan is used should remains be available; for instance, if no bones should be found on opening the grave, if its location has been forgotten, or if. the person died at sea or in a foreign land.

The souls are provided daily with " drinks," holy water,from sacred springs. Processions go regularly to distant mountain-springs to fill the new clay pots inscribed with a lotus and I sacred syllable ong, while someone casts coins into the waters and recites prayers for the spirit of, the spring. Rolls of ancient black " coppers are tied to the neck of each pot with the special white yarn used in ritual, and each pot is provided with a label' bearing the name of the dead. The pots of holy water -are then deposited on the pavilions where the bodies lie.

The elusive souls are next " awakened " and captured in the effigies. They are taken to the burial ground, and the company kneels, in front of the open graves strewing afferings on theground and singing songs.the men dig The earth alittle knocking upon it, and call the souls to aweken while someone scatters pennies to distract the devils that wait ready to pounce upon the e and pollute them. The procession returns home, each effigy now incorporating a soul, carried on the bead of a girl, to be blessed in the shrine of each household. Each effigy is then cured as if it were a corpse: it is sprinkled with holy water, the various, ingredients (banten SUtji to anttain physical perfection shreds of mirror, flowers, a gold ring, nails, etc.) are placed over it the, egg rolled along its length, and it is decorated with gold and silver obiects. The cured effigies are placed near the corpses, wayang music is plaved. and the little egg shell lamps of the angenans are lit for the night.the Ceremonies acquire greater significance as the date for the cremation approaches.

A great procession is held on the, the cremation day to take the effigies to the house of the high, priest for their final blessing. It is important that this procession be grand and luxurious, and, all the relatives of the dead Parade in it dressed in the finest clothes obtainable, with brocades gold flowers, jewellery, and jewelled krisses much in evidence orchestras, baris dancers, and scores of bovs carrying spears bannersand flags, followed by long lines of women offerin bearers come at the bead of the parade; they represent the retinue souls in the effigies which are borne on silver platters on the heads of a specially picked group of beautiful girls in ceremonial full, dress - diadems of trembling gold flower-on elaborate arrange ments of lacy scarfs binding their breasts and yellow orgreen skirts of brocade trailing in the dirt often the youngest decendant of the family aboy or a girl dressed in silks and gold riding on a gilt palanquin and shaded by gilt umbrellas Groups of men relatives close the procession. In once saw some fifty men uniformed in yellow trailing loincloths. magenta breast-cloths, and white bead-dresses, all wearing gold krisses, awkwardly conscious of being admired, marching in triple file to the beat of gongs and drums amidst bursting firecrackers.

If you are interested in seeing the Bali ritual Performances such as the Barong and the Rangda, Cremation ceremonies or seeing other ritual ceremonies, or you have other ideas on what you want to see we can design the package just for you. please send us an email to

The procession goes to the priest's house, where he waits to consecrate the effigies through a performance of maweda, the spoken formula emphasized by gestures of the hands. The priest recites his formulas, flings flowers, and sprinkles holy water towards the effigies, which are reverently held in front of him by the kneeling girls. After the ceremony the procession returns home, stopping along the way in the temple of the family's origin to offer a final prayer. At the house, towards dusk, the baris dancers perform war dances to cast a protecting net of magic vibrations, and shows are given to entertain the guests. Relatives, guests, and populace spend the night divided between watching an all-night shadow-play and listening to public readings of the Balinese classic Bhima Swarga, the tale of the fantastic adventures of Bhima on his visit to Hades. Tradition prescribes that this should be read aloud from beginning to -end on the eve of cremation. In dark comers people huddle to steal naps. Outside, the orchestras, among them the gambang, only heard at cremations, boom and bum throughout the night.


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