Cremation ceremony is the most important in Balinese life. Along with the following some rituals after, cremation is the last ceremony for Balinese in the human circle of life and must be done properly both in sekala and niskala (visible and un-visible world).
There are some words in local language for cremation ceremony. They are: Ngaben, Plebon and Pretiwaan. In general, the purpose of these ceremony is same: to convey the deceased soul to the ‘eternal’ world. Ngaben is a common word for cremation ceremony for ordinary people meanwhile Plebon is cremation ceremony for royal family and Pretiwaan is for high priest. Besides that, cremation ceremony also has three level of how the ceremony done; nista (modest), madya (in the middle between modest and prime) and utama (prime).
Ngaben / Plebon / Pretiwaan can be done as soon as possible on the upcoming weeks as the summit of cremation ceremony must be fall on particular auspicious day due to the Bali calendar calculation. The bigger scale of the ceremony the longer preparation it takes; it can be a month or two or even more. As cremation ceremony takes a lot of time to prepare and also it needs lots of money to pay all expenses during preparation, most Balinese don’t do cremation right away after their family passed away but they do later in next few years instead. However, certain people such as Pedanda (a high Hindu priest) or Pemangku (a religious leader in the village) will be cremated as soon as he passed away. Or noble man / noble women from royal family will have special cremation ceremony which will take several months in preparation as their cremation ceremony mostly take the prime level of cremation ceremony.
Once in 3 or 5 years, the village council will hold collective cremation ceremony. This is the time for village members who don’t cremate their deceased family yet to join. The collective cremation reduces some expenses and much more affordable for most of village members. Collective cremation called Atiwa-tiwa Kinembulan / Ngaben Ngerit / Ngaben Masal.
Every son in the family have obligation to make proper cremation ceremony for their late parents. If the parents have no children or those who don’t married, their close relative will take over this obligation.
Please find out upcoming Cremation Ceremony or other happening interests at Upcoming Religious Ceremony section / Events Bali.