Bali Funeral

A Balinese funeral is a unique combination of the spirituality of Buddhist and Hindu rites which celebrate a person’s time on Earth and, more importantly, their transition to a life after death.

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Various elements of the funeral ceremony are spaced out over seven days. At one point relatives of the deceased walk around the funeral pyre carrying offerings and pictures of relatives

Tourists will be aware of the funeral ‘season’ on the tropical island by the visible presence of massive bamboo towers which will convey a body to a cremation. But these prominent structures are for wealthy Balinese. In most villages and towns throughout the island the cost of a funeral is shared between several families.

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The first part of the funeral starts, at about 3a.m. Each relative is disinterred and carefully wrapped in a white sheet before before lifted from the temporary grave and taken to an area of cemetery for cleaning.  There is a pervading,  sweet, smell of decay in the still morning air.

In a small coastal town which I look on as second home, a mass cremation is held about every three years. When a family member dies they are buried in a grave in the local cemetery.

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Family members take the skeletal remains, wrapped in a sheet, to an area for washing and preparing for the cremation.

This is a temporary resting place. Over three years enough relatives are ready to move on to a new life. In this ceremony, held in June last year (2016), 98 were cremated.

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During a ritual washing the skull is passed to family members to be kissed. 

The ceremonial process took seven days culminating in the Ngaben, the cremation, after which the ashes are divided between family members and taken to sea for a final scattering on the element of water, in this case the Badung Strait.

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Skeletal remains are ceremoniously laid out and scattered with flowers before being wrapped ready for cremation.
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As family names are called relatives carry their body,  ready for cremation, to be placed on the funeral pyre 
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A body is carried by family members to the funeral pyre
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Early in the day of the cremation a procession leaves the local temple. On this day effigies of 98 relatives were carried through the town.
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Hot, humid, days make it necessary for an occasional rest
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A priest from the temple blesses the pyre before the cremation

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Back to Back in Fremantle

I think most photographers have the work of the old master shooters firmly imprinted in their minds. Lisette Model was a photographer who’s simplicity of style appealed to me and some of her images of the backs of subjects have become icons.

I was wandering around Fremantle today and came across these two exuding inimitable style in the West End.

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The Black Madonna

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Each year the fishing community of Fremantle has two ceremonies to ensure the fishermen and their boats are safe and the catches are good throughout the season.

The smaller of the two festivals, held in honour of The Black Madonna, is on the second Sunday of September and celebrated by the small Portugese community who live in the city. The larger Blessing of the Fleet is held in late October and conducted by the entire fishing community, mostly from Mediterranean communities, principally Italian.

Several Masses are held in St Patrick’s Basilica and a procession leaves there to parade the Black Madonna around the city’s street during the afternoon. It is a time for the younger members of the community to play a part in their industry. Many of these kids would be descended from migrants who established the fishing industry in the 1920s and will mostly become fishers themselves.

 

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The parade consists of a hierarchy of young people. These boys are in uniforms of the  gendarmery who will protect the parade

 

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It is one of the communities great honours to be able to carry one of several banners paraded through the streets

 

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Portuguese national costume is worn by many of the children

 

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Three elders of the Portuguese community stop at the half way point of the parade for a  fireworks display

 

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Banners paraded through the local city’s local shopping streets

 

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Children in national costume carry a set of ornamental fishing floats attached to a Crucifix

 

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The Black Madonna

 

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The fireworks, mainly firecrackers, put on a very noisy show. The kids tend to block their ears, some don’t like them at all and some are stoic.
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The Black Madonna, the Portuguese fishing communities treasured icon, passes through Fremantle’s West End, an enclave of heritage architecture from the gold rush days of the late 1800s