Before you look at these images, please be warned, if you are sensitive to death and dead people, please move on to another gallery.
The Balinese have a different relationship with death than we have in the West. Grief and sadness for sure, this however will soon will be replaced with delight that the soul of their loved one can be returned to god. According to Hindu believe in Bali, the body is just a vehicle for the soul and other than that, a dead body is just a dead body.
The flamboyant, sometimes wild and colorful cremations in Bali are well known to visitors, and a true spectacle to witness. The beautiful towers and sarcofagi built over weeks and burnt down in minutes.
There are countless ceremonies and rituals that happen mostly out of sight of visitors. When the body just died, it gets washed and purified by a priest with the family present and close to the body to protect the still hovering soul from bad demons and spirits. The body is being prepared to either be buried until the cremation, or if the family can afford it, it will be burned straight away to release the soul.
For cost efficiency some bodies get buried first, and at the time of cremation dug out again. The family members will all take part and help wash the bones before they get wrapped in cloths and prepared for the big cremation.
In this series of images I try to show all aspect of burials and cremations as I have witnessed them over the years. It fascinates me how uncomplicated the relationship is with the diceased.
I always ask if I can take photos, its never been even a single problem.
When a fresh body is being burnt, grown ups and children of any age will be present and watch until the very last. The burnt bones will then be picked out of the ashes and more ceremonies follow.
© Ineke Willeboordse