PADANGBAÏ, Indonesia — Hundreds of people wearing white shirts and traditional clothes gathered along the coast of Padangbai harbor on the Indonesian resort island of Bali for a mass cremation ceremony taking place in their village for the first time.
Padangbai families send 117 dead people. They were previously buried in a public cemetery, not far from the cremation site.
Cremation is usually arranged by individual families, but the mass ceremony eases the cost burden. Some families have waited more than five years for cremation.
The Hindu rites began on Friday morning as locals marched out to sea, a 6-metre (20ft) wooden tower carrying bodies and a coffin in the shape of Gajah Mina, an elephant-headed fish. Relatives who took part in the procession also brought photos of their deceased family members and placed them inside the bade.
As the procession made its way to a wide space around the cemetery, relatives would take the bones from the cemetery and put them in the coffin before they were cremated.
Balinese Hindus believe that cremation releases the soul of the dead so that they can begin the next cycle of life.
“We do mass cremation, so we can do it together,” said Eka Primawata, secretary of the Karangasem cultural village. “With this mass cremation, this cultural village becomes… more harmonious”.