The Balinese cremation ceremony, or ngaben, has primarily been known in the West as either a major tourist attraction that dazzles visitors with the splendor, intricacy, and drama of its performance, or as fodder for long-standing anthropological arguments about person-hood and emotion on the island that debated whether or not Balinese people expressed, or even experienced, grief. According to Balinese Hindu beliefs, cremation is one of the most important steps in a person's spiritual life, and a heavy responsibility to the family, because it is through cremation that the physical body is returned to its five constituent elements and the soul is cleansed and released from the body to ascend to heaven and be reincarnated. "Ngaben: Emotion and Restraint in a Balinese Heart" takes an impressionistic look at the ngaben from the perspective of a mourning son, Nyoman Asub, and reveals the intimacy, sadness, and tenderness at the core of this funerary ritual and the feeling and force that ...
Nyoman Asub has waited ten years to cremate his father.
Did You Know?
The process of the ceremony is first we dig out the bones. Once we pull out the bones, the soul can rise. We pray
[over the bones
for three days. We then bring them back to the graveyard. We wrap the bones to transport them. Then we carry them to the graveyard to burn.