EXCERPT from Death in Bali by DebeCampbell  in VIVAcini! 14 Sep 2012

To experience a Balinese cremation ceremony is a rare opportunity
and a soul-searching experience. Understanding the centuries-old
rituals and beliefs that make the custom a tradition among the Balinese
helps bring perspective to an event, which could otherwise become lost
in a smoky mist of confusion.

The days between death and ceremony are
spent in intense preparation of many details and
rituals. It is believed that the soul of the dead
cannot leave the body until the body’s five elements
of air, earth, fire, water and space have
been returned to the cosmos.

The soul then departs and fi nd its new life
through reincarnation—the mishandling of
any small detail could prevent the soul from
reincarnating.

Even a medium-size cremation ceremony
costs thousands of dollars and the
services of hundreds of family, community
members and friends.

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