Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Asia
Reload this Page >

Cremation ceremonies in Bali, Aug or Sept, 2011

Cremation ceremonies in Bali, Aug or Sept, 2011

Old Oct 21st, 2010, 02:49 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Cremation ceremonies in Bali, Aug or Sept, 2011

When I was in Bali in August, 2006, I saw a cremation ceremony that involved about 8 families in Gianyar -- the rituals were both moving and spectacular. The sad part, though, is that I missed a royal cremation that was scheduled to take place a week after I left. Does anyone know of cremations in late Aug. or early Sept., 2011? Or a way to learn about cremations in advance? Since my vacation plans are flexible, I'm going to set the dates for my trip (which will be centered in Ubud) around that information.

Thanks
Culture_lover is offline  
Old Oct 21st, 2010, 06:43 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,234
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I assume you are aware that cremations only happen after someone is dead. Therefore, they are not scheduled far in advance. Bali has a large enough population, that there are likely to be cremations no matter when you travel. The cremation ceremonies vary depending on the wealth and status of the deceased. So you might or might not see a "royal" cremation.
Kathie is offline  
Old Oct 21st, 2010, 07:20 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Kathy, Thanks for your reply. I do think that some cremations are planned in advance; for example some websites talk about villages having cremations every 5 years, using the Balinese year of 210 days. And the large cremation I saw in Gianyar had to have been planned fairly far ahead of time too. Our driver told us about that one; it may make sense that he (and other drivers) might be the best sources of information.
Culture_lover is offline  
Old Oct 21st, 2010, 01:02 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,924
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Generally cremations (at least for Hindus) is not a spectator sport. I'm not sure why you would seek out such an event if you are not part of the family?
Jaya is offline  
Old Oct 21st, 2010, 04:04 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,779
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'd have to agree with Culture Lover on both counts. Cremations are often planned in advance, especially in the case of a village leader or VIP. The body is stored, sometimes for years, until enough money is saved or an auspicious day is reached.

I don't know when cremations became spectator events in Bali, but it's been that way for at least 25 years when I first watched a ceremony on Sanur beach. It really is a grand spectacle, with throngs of people in procession, offerings, gamelan orchestra, legong dancers and of course the funeral tower and its fiery conclusion.

Many cremations take place on the beach and I don't think there's any harm in watching respectfully. I have, however, seen some fairly dubious tourist behavior: people in scanty swimsuits, people in trees, people actually climbing the pyre to get a good camera shot.

CL, Since you’ve been to Bali before you might ask your guide or your resort for information.
marmot is offline  
Old Oct 21st, 2010, 04:21 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,924
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Then it is different in Bali. In India, cremations are not something one goes to watch without having a reason to be there.
Jaya is offline  
Old Oct 21st, 2010, 06:14 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,234
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Marmot, I knew that bodies were sometimes stored for a time before cremation, but I though it was more like weeks or months. The idea that anyone would know know about a cremation scheduled a year from now seemed very unlikely to me. I stand corrected.
Kathie is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2010, 03:18 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 282
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
In the village I live in, cremations for low caste (most of the population) are done every 5 years and the dates depend on the Balinese calendar, which is interpreted by the priests. This really helps the village economize on the costs, which are usually thousands of dollars for each family. The actual day (in this instance) is not set until a couple of months in advance. They then cremate every adult who has passed away in the past 5 years. (the actual bodies have been burned in the meantime) The bodies are not dug up, but the spirits are symbolically placed with many offerings in the the bulls and then burned. Cremations are somewhat seasonal in that auspicious days are quite often simultaneous or at least close to each other. So it's quite common to have several cremations in different villages on the same day or same month. For certain people, either high caste or priests, even lay priests of low caste, the cremation could take place right away...the body is not buried but kept at home closely guarded by the village and then burned during the ceremony. Every village has slightly different customs, offerings, etc etc so these all vary from place to place. Our village has added a nice touch lately in that a photograph of the deceased is placed in front of their offerings. They usually start about noon and go till dark, and then the ashes are taken to water, such as a river or ocean. It starts months in advance with making of offerings, purifying the grounds, ceremonies, making of the towers and vessels for the bodies and so forth. Then on the day of the cremation itself the vessels are paraded on bamboo tiers to the graveyard. That procession itself is interesting to watch as well. And then at the graveyard the offerings and prayers are made, culminating a few hours later with the burning of the bodies and vessels.

Cremations are fine as public events, hopefully whoever comes will be respectful and wear traditional clothing (pakaian adat) and not walk in front of people praying and so on. Usually people come with a Balinese friend or even a guide who will explain the process and symbolism and who can help them get dressed appropriately.
kuluk is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2010, 03:21 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 282
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sorry, typo, I meant on the sixth line to say the actual bodies have been BURIED in the meantime.
kuluk is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2010, 07:50 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,234
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks, kuluk.
Kathie is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2010, 05:19 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 304
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You will often see leaflets giving details of cremations whenh you arrive in Bali & are in the (endless) queue to go through immigration. These cremations are usually for the southern part of Bali, and are usually at the cremation grounds in Denpasar. Not much help if you want to see one in Ubud-perhaps your hotel and/or driver would know of some in the area
trotsky is online now  
Old Oct 23rd, 2010, 09:24 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 282
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
For Ubud, a good source of up-to-date information on not just cremations but other ceremonies, dance performances etc etc is the Ubud Tourist Infomation Center, run by the provincial govt office. Phone number is 62 361 973-285. If you are calling from within Bali call 0361 - 973-285.

For the OP, there usually are lots of cremations on around August and September. Personally, I don't think you have missed too much with the "royal" cremations. The towers are extra huge and it's more "splendid," but it's incredibly crowded and most of my friends who live here try to stay away due to terrible traffic and other personal reasons. For the royal cremation that I think you were talking about, they had invited media from around the world to cover it and had pr people, a press office, etc etc. A small village cremation is much less a spectacle and more of a spiritually touching ceremony, in my opinion.
kuluk is offline  
Old Oct 30th, 2010, 09:12 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I want to thank all of you who have given me such good information. When I was in Bali before, my friend and I stayed in the Palace in Ubud, which is right across the street from the tourist office. I didn't see any information on cremations there, but it was the best place to find out about dance performances and schedule jitney tours, etc. Shortly before were leaving, after almost a month in Bali, the preparations for the royal cremation began with the construction of a huge dragon at the Palace. I was really sorry we would miss the ceremony and cremation, so I appreciate Kuluk's reply because it helps me realize I wouldn't have been able to see very much at all.

By the way, when I was buying a beautiful Barong mask from a family of master carvers in Puaya, they showed me photos of their father's cremation rites just two weeks before, including a picture of their mother cradling their father's skull in her hands during the purification rituals prior to cremation. I was very deeply moved seeing the unforgettably simple grace and love of this Balinese woman, and the profound experience these private ceremonies must be.
Culture_lover is offline  
Old Nov 4th, 2010, 12:08 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,779
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2...-grandeur.html

An article on last week's cremation of the king of Peliatan, near Ubud. Definitely not of the intimate variety, but it looks like it was quite an event.
marmot is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
nitishraj
Asia
6
Dec 10th, 2018 09:10 AM
jgmc
Asia
39
Apr 16th, 2011 12:31 PM
jgliu
Asia
9
Mar 24th, 2011 11:23 AM
stockexchanger
Asia
25
Jun 16th, 2004 12:00 AM
christine
Asia
11
Nov 17th, 2002 04:45 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:32 PM.