Wednesday, November 09, 2005

One of the sarcophagi, cremation ceremony, near Ubud, Bali

I had read about this, along with something else of interest, in The Natural Guide to Bali: "As recently as twenty years ago, cremation ceremonies could ... become occasions for staging violent protests. During the procession, those carrying the sarcophagus and the cremation tower spin them around at the village crossroads, in order to confuse the spirit of the dead so that he or she cannot find the way back home to haunt relatives. But if the deceased was someone not very well liked in the village -- an arrogant official or a stingy noble -- boisterous horseplay could grow more serious. Spinning the tower with a vengeance, villagers could topple the body out onto the street. In extreme cases, Balinese would ngarap -- tear the body to bits with their hands or even their teeth." I suppose this observation related to a private cremation of a particular individual, in which case the intermediate burial of the corpse would not have preceded the cremation.


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