Ngaben

Ngaben, or Cremation Ceremony, is the ritual performed in Bali to send the deceased to the next life. The body of the deceased will be placed as if sleeping, and the family will continue to treat the deceased as sleeping. No tears are shed, because the deceased is only temporarily not present and will reincarnate or find his final rest in Moksha (freeing from the reincarnation and death cycle).

ngaben.jpgThe proper day of the ceremony is always a matter of consulting a specialist on ceremony days. On the day of the ceremony, the body of the deceased is placed inside a coffin. This coffin is placed inside a sarcophagus resembling a buffalo (Lembu) or in a temple structure (Wadah) made of paper and wood. The buffalo or temple structure will be carried to the cremation site in a procession. The procession is not walking in a straight line. This is to confuse bad spirits and keep them away from the deceased.

The climax of Ngaben is the burning of the whole structure, together with the body of the deceased. The fire is necessary to free the spirit from the body and enable reincarnation. Ngaben is not always immediately performed. For higher caste members it is normal to perform the ritual within 3 days. For lower caste members the deceased are buried first and later, often in a group ceremony for the whole village, cremated.