Arief Yahya in Ngaben Ceremony

ITS–Despite the growth in modern living,  Balineses are well-known in preserving  cultures and traditions. Ngaben, for example, is still performed up today and has been  one of the most famous Hindu-Bali’s ceremonies, not only in Indonesia, but worldwide.

Indonesia Tourism Minister, Arif Yahya, attended ngaben ceremonies at December 18 th, 2017. Along with several Tourism Ministry officials, Arif conveyed his condolences  and prayed in the ngaben of I Gde Ardika’s wife—Ni Ketut Indriati Ardika. I Gde Ardika is a former Tourism and Culture Minister who was in service from 2000 to 2004.

For  further information,  here we quote a short explanation of ngaben ceremonies as featured in Indonesia postagestamp:

Ngaben, also known as Pitra Yadyna, Pelebon  is the last and most important ceremony of every Balinese life.  It is a funeral ritual performed to release the soul of a dead entirely from the body to ascend to heaven and to be reincarnated. The Balinese Hindu theology holds that there is a competition between evil residents of the lower realm to capture this soul, and a proper cremation enhances the chance that it may reach the upper realm.

On the day of the ceremony, the body of the deceased is placed inside a coffin made of bamboo-wood-paper in bull-shaped that stands or a wooden wadah (temple-like structure). Once the corpse is ready for the cremation ground, it is washed, dressed in Balinese attire, family and friends pay their last goodbye with prayers and the mourners take it for cremation. They carry the corpses with rites, dressed in traditional attire, accompanied with gamelan music and singing, to the kuburan (cremation grounds). If the path passes through major road crossings, the coffin is rotated three times to confuse the evil residents of the lower realm keep them away from the deceased.

At the cremation ground, the corpse is placed into the bull-shaped lembu or temple-shaped wadah, final hymns are recited and the cremation pyre lit. While the corpse burns, the Balinese music team plays the beleganjur music, a battle song symbolizing the soul’s fight with evil underworld to reach the worry-free upper realm. Twelve days after the cremation, the families collect the ashes, fill it inside coconut shell, carry it to nearby river or sea to return the remains back to the elements.

Putu Suasta & Made Sentana


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