Through Fire and Flames


“Widely considered as the staple of Balinese traditional religious ceremonies among many others, Ngaben is a rite of ascension, which transcends human spirit from their deceased physical bodies.”

Although it is definitely a funeral ritual, Balinese people did not grief, or at least they did not show it during the whole Ngaben procession. The body of the deceased is placed and treated as if he/she was still sleeping.



Picking up the day to do Ngaben is never an easy feat. A lot of discussion, preparation and cost are necessary before the actual ceremony commences. On the day, the body of the deceased is placed inside a coffin, and then is put inside a sarcophagus resembling a buffalo or in a temple structure made of papier-mâché and wood. It will then be transported to the cremation site in a unique way, in which the structure containing the body is never carried in a straight line. This is to confuse the evil spirits who wish to take the soulless body.

For Balinese Hindu, ‘death’ is only a temporal absent; as they believe the deceased will reincarnate or find final rest in ‘Moksha’ (permanent liberation of reincarnation and death cycle).

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