Death Under The Sun

Death Under The Sun

I am on Nusa Lembongan, the island neighboring Bali. When biking across the island, I see a small and humble graveyard from the road and I have to stop by. You wouldn’t find any fancy and expensive graves, only crooked headstones amid the trees. But at the same time, this peaceful cemetery does not seem abandoned. The graves are covered by all kind of goods. There are bottles of water or other drinks, bowls of rice, some sweets and biscuits on almost every grave. And what seems especially interesting is that each one is shaded by cute colorful umbrella. When reading the inscriptions one more detail draws my attention. Every one here died a few months ago. Where are all these who’ve been long dead?

In Bali, the body of the deceased should be cremated. But this ceremony is expensive so a family needs time to save money. And the time has to be astrologically convenient. So the living relatives have to wait for the cremation many months or sometimes even years. All this time the corpse is buried in the graveyard. When the time is up, the corpse is removed from the grave and taken to the cremation ceremony.

According to Hinduism, the next incarnation of a person is possible only after cremation of the body. So the spirits waiting for the cremation of their previous bodies are in a very difficult position. They wander alone on Earth, with no purpose, close to their families but with no way of communicating. Everyone would be frustrated. Every problem which living people face is caused by angry spirits. So families do their best to soothe this frustration.  They leave something good to eat and drink for the ghosts and make some shade, which is very important in this hot sunny country.

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