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The Elaborate Balinese Funeral Ceremony

Bali, Indonesia
Stacey Stein

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This Balinese woman says a final farewell to her mother (in photo), as the colorfully decorated coffin rests in the background, ready for the cremation ceremony to begin.
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Although this was the during the large funeral ceremony of a beloved prince, this girl lovingly holds the image of her recently deceased relative, using the opportunity to honor his memory as well.
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Sounds of gongs and gamelan, a large funeral orchestra comprised of men in silk turbans and formal sarongs, hammer out ancient rhythms in pentatonic tones.
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For the Balinese, a cremation ceremony marks the passage from the human realm to the spirit realm. Families will spend whatever they can afford to give their relatives a good farewell, and to placate the spirit that will then occupy the family shrine at their residence.
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The priest sits cross-legged, adorned with elaborate ornamentation and ritual items, blessing each offering substances.


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