Balinese Cremation Ceremony – Celebration of a Life Well Lived

While  on the Buddhist island of Bali, Indonesia in December 2009, I was walking to a coffee shop to use the wifi. On the way I saw a whole street filled with floats and people playing music. I had no clue what it was. That is when I saw them loading bodies into one of the floats. Quickly realized it was a traditional Balinese cremation ceremony.

I am not sure what to call this thing… A mascot? A monster? A float? A creature?

Balinese cremation ceremony monster

Balinese Cremation Ceremony

I had never seen a cremation ceremony before, let alone in Bali.I followed them and will one day make a post dedicated strictly to this ceremony. Once they got to the beach, they removed the bodies and did more rituals before burning them on the beach with blow torches. I know in some parts of the world they have cremation ovens. The Balinese went right to it with blow torches on the beach. I wasn’t the only one watching, it was a celebration of sorts.

Not sure where or what this monster above is used for but they had several of them so I included the photo. It looks very meticulously put together so I doubt they will burn it. That said, what do I know because I just stumbled upon this. This was my first time in Bali and first time watching a cremation.

It was a moving experience, a celebration of sorts with bands, people selling food. Sort of like a celebration of the lives lost. Perhaps it was because it was a mass ceremony. I am not sure but it is one of those events on the trip that stand out as particularly moving. It was nice to see people wearing white and somewhat celebrating a life well lived.

In other parts of the world, people wear black to mourn a death. This Balinese ceremony was more of a celebration of life. We all have to be disposed of somehow after we die. Being cremating on the beach in Bali beats being buried in a hole in my book.

Author: SHABL

Rob has been traveling the world and living abroad for over a decade. The goal was to stop having a boring life and it turned into something far greater. He's worked with national tourism boards and been mentioned in National Geographic. These days he lives abroad and loves business, technology, the tropical lifestyle, good food and travel.

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