Ngaben and Melasti: Two Balinese Traditional Ceremonies You Must Know!
– The enchantment of natural beauty on the island of Bali is indeed
unquestionable. Throughout the island we can enjoy the various natural beauty that
stretches, starting from the mountains, beaches and lakes are also available. Even so,
there are unique things that make Bali even more special, namely the preservation of culture that is
deeply felt in the joints of the people’s lives. Visiting the island of Bali will feel more
special if we manage to get various exciting moments by witnessing traditional ceremonies in Bali first
hand. Generally, these traditional ceremonies can be witnessed by tourists for mere
spectacle or as documentation.
In the following, there are two Balinese traditional ceremonies that Sinaumed’s must know about!
1. Ngaben Ceremony
The Ngaben ceremony is a ceremonial procession of burning corpses or also known as cremation.
The Ngaben ceremony is performed by Hindus in Bali. Hindus in Bali believe that Ngaben
can purify the spirits of family members who have died and are heading to their final resting place.
The Origins of the Ngaben Ceremony
Reporting from the Indonesia Kaya website, according to Nyoman Singgin Wikarman, the word “Ngaben” comes
from the word “beya” which means provision. Ngaben is also called palebon which comes from the
word “lebu” which means prathiwi or land (dust). To make a human body that has died into a
soil, one way is by burning it.
In the teachings of Hinduism, apart from being believed to be the creator god, Lord Brahma has the form of
the God of Fire. So the Ngaben ceremony is a procession of purifying the spirit which is
carried out by burning it with fire so that it can go back to the Creator. The fire that burned
the corpse is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Brahma.
The fire will burn all the dirt attached to the body as well as the soul or spirit of the person who has
died. Hindus believe that humans are made up of three layers, namely raga sarira, suksma
sarira , and also atahkarana sarira . Raga sarira is
the gross body or physical body of a human being. Suksma sarira is the astral body in the
form of thoughts, desires, feelings, and lust. Meanwhile, antakkarana
sarira is the cause of life or Sanghyang Atma .
When a human has died, his body cannot function anymore. Meanwhile, the
atma (soul/spirit) that has been in the body for too long and has been confined by the
sarira spirit must leave the body as soon as possible, because if it
takes too long, the atma will feel suffering. Humans who have
passed away need to be given a ceremony in order to speed up the process of returning the gross body to
its source in nature, namely the five mahabhuta : earth (soil),
apah (water), teja (fire),
bayu (air), and also akasa (space). .
If the Ngaben ceremony is postponed for a long period of time, the spirit will roam and turn into bhuta
cuwil . Likewise if a person who dies is buried in the ground without holding an
appropriate ceremony. This is because the spirits have not been able to let go of their
attachment to the human realm. Therefore, it is necessary to hold the Ngaben bhuta cuwil
Implementation of the Ngaben Ceremony
In the Ngaben ceremony, all residents of the banjar (level pillars of the community) are required to assist
in all the preparations. There are lots of offerings to be prepared and lots of processions to
Two important things to do are badé and patulangan . Badé are pagoda-like towers
with an odd number of towers used to carry dead bodies. Patulangan is a sarcophagus in the form
of an animal or mythological creature as a place for the bodies to be cremated.
Badé and patulangan have various sizes and shapes as indicators of the social status of the deceased.
In fact, since the 2000s a phenomenon has emerged, namely the wheeled badé
. A wheeled badé is a normal badé but is fitted with wheels so that
it can be pushed and makes it easier to move the body.
Badé beroda makes the Ngaben ceremony procession simpler without requiring a lot of effort and other
equipment that can cost a lot of money. The Ngaben ceremony will begin with a procession.
Each family member brings a photo of the deceased or the body to be burned .
The sound of Balinese gamelan also accompanied the group to the Ngaben location. After the
body is burned or cremated , the remaining ashes from the burning are put into ivory
coconuts which will later be floated into the sea or river which is considered sacred. For
those who do not have the cost, the bodies will usually be buried first.
Ngaben can be done after many years after the family of the deceased has sufficient funds.
Mass or collective Ngaben ceremonies are also often held. The family can carry out the
ritual by paying a certain amount of money or even for free if it really belongs to the poor.
Even so, the mass Ngaben is still carried out without losing the essence of the tradition at all from the Ngaben
The purpose of the Ngaben ceremony
The purpose of the Ngaben ceremony is to speed up Ragha Sarira so that he can return to his origin, namely
the five maha buthadi alam and for the atma it is hoped that he can quickly go to the
pitra realm . Reporting from the kesrasetda.bulelengkab.go.id site, the
philosophical foundations of Ngaben in general are the five sradhas, namely the five basic frameworks of
Hinduism namely Brahman, Atman, Karmaphala, Samsara and also
Moksa . Meanwhile, Ngaben is specifically held as a form of love for the
ancestors and devotion from a child to his parents.
The Ngaben ceremony is a process of returning the five maha butha elements to the Creator.
Ngaben is also often referred to as pitra yadnya ( ejection of yama
purwana tattwa ). Pitra means an ancestor or person who has died while yadnya is
a sincere and sincere sacred offering.
Types of Ngaben Ceremonies
1. Ngewangun Confession Ceremony
All organs of the body (as a cloud ) receive ceremonial materials so that there
are many ceremonies . This type of Ngaben is followed by
Pengaskaran . There are two types of ceremonies namely:
- The Pengabenan ceremony mewangun Sawa Pratek Utama , there is a corpse or watang matah
- The Ngabenan Ceremony mewangun Wedana’s Life , there is no body but is symbolized by using a
sandalwood scene that has been drawn and written using the sangkanparan script.
Wedana’s life comes from the word Nyawa or Nyayang (made as a symbol).
Vedana means form or form. Thus, the life of the wedana has
the meaning of making an image as a human symbol.
2. Pranawa Ngabenan Ceremony
Pengabenan which means the ritual is addressed to the nine holes that exist in humans. Pranawa comes from
the word Prana (hole, path, breath) and Nawa (meaning nine).
The nine holes in question are:
- Udana (eyebrow), affects the good and bad thoughts
- Dates (eye holes) affect the good and bad buddhi.
- Krkara (nostrils), influencing Tri Kaya , honesty and lies.
- Krana (mouth hole). Many sins come from the mouth ( Tri Mala Forced )
- Dhananjya (gullet). The powers that affect mana – pride and
- Samana (the pit of destruction), the influence of the soul to become greedy and greedy.
- The dragon (stomach hole) is a character influence that has a connection with Sad Ripu
- Wyana (joint holes) affect actions to create Subha Asubha Karma .
- Apana (pubic buttocks) influences kama which is related to Sapta Timira .
These nine human holes can be an introduction to humans into the valley of sin.
Pengabenan Pranawa is also carried out with a dedication ceremony.
There are five types of Pengaban Pranawa
- Sawa Pranawa: accompanied by a corpse or watang matah
- Kusa Pranawa: with watang matah or just using scenes. This scene will later be
accompanied by crew from a hundred katih ambengan .
Using a ceremony of acculturation.
- Toya Pranawa: the same as Kusa Pranawa, except that in the scene it is filled with pere breast filled
with water and equipped with thickening agents and also using Pengaskaran
- Gni Pranawa: Just like the other pranawa, it also carries out warriors but it is
insulting which is carried out in setra after
the sawa turns into a single sekah .
Without uperengga which resembles resin brackets, overlapping salu, pepelengkungan, ancak served,
bale paga, three sampir, antakesuma clothes, paying pagut . Only use
dammar layon , casket and also papaya or penusangan.
- Sapta Pranawa: this ceremony is carried out at home, using damar brackets and also the
Even so, if you don’t use Bale Paga when carrying the body to the setra. Just using
pepaga or penusangan is done directly at the setra , but the
implementation of the refining process is stagnant , and the implementation of the
eradication is over the edge .
3. Swastha Confession Ceremony
Pengabangan is simple, with the smallest level because it doesn’t use coarsening . Means
not using a kajang which automatically means it is done without a bachelor
ceremony ceremony . Do not use bale paga, damar brackets, damar layon,
angenan damar, petulangan, three sampir, antakesuma clothes and also pagut umbrellas.
Pengabenan Swastha only uses a coffin and papaya or penusangan to bring him to
setra . Implementation of the ceremony only in setra
only. The Swastha Geni recitation is often confused with the Pranawa Geni
Private comes from the word “su” (main, flexible). Astha comes from the word Asthi (ash,
bone). Thus Swastha has the meaning of recitation which returns to its core but still has
the main value. Pengaban swastha consists of two types, namely:
1. Pengaban Swastha Geni
Settlement in setra is carried out by burning the corpse or without using the corpse. There is
only the implementation of “delivery” after a single form of sekah is made , then it is
continued with the nganyut ceremony .
2. Bambang’s Swastha Confession
All sequences of implementation, the ceremony is carried out on the bambang where the bodies are
buried. The quantity of ceremonies is almost the same as Swastha
Geni’s recitation, except that the ceremony is added with “pengande bambang”. This swastha
bambang recitation does not include the lifting ceremony and the
sweeping ceremony , because the refining is not done by burning but by burial.
While the gluing and hardening are still carried out the same as normal Ngaben.
Pengabanan Swastha Geni or Swastha Bambang is included in the main refusal of the
main , not using bale paga , no rehearsals are carried out and at the time of
setra only use redemption .
4. Kerthi Parwa ceremony
Including mengabenan with the main nistaning level . This sacrifice is carried out for
Hindus who died in war. No warriors were carried out , only the
delivery and delivery ceremonies were carried out. The
implementation is the same as the Swastha Geni ceremony.
5. Ngaben Ngalanus Ceremony
Actually, it is not included as part of the type of recognition. It’s the same as an ordinary
Ngaben ceremony, only the technicalities are made quickly. There are two types of ngaben
1. Ngelanus Tandang Mantri.
The filling and measurement are completed within one day. This confession refers to the
religious literature ” Lontar Kramaning Aben Ngelanus “. Ngelanus Tandang Mantri
is also called Pemargi Ngeluwer . This confession is only done for
wiku and is not allowed for walaka .
2. Ngelanus Tumandang Mantri.
Done for the walaka within one to two days. The upakara and ceremonies depend on the
quantity of the ceremonies and ceremonies themselves.
2. Melasti Ceremony
The Saka New Year for Balinese Hindus is a good opportunity to start life again with a pure and clean heart.
Through the amati geni ritual on Nyepi Day, all Hindus essentially get the opportunity
to evaluate their life achievements in the past year and reconstruct their life plans for the coming
Prior to this stage, from 2 to 4 days before Nyepi, the Hindu community on the island of Bali performs a
ritual of self-purification and purification of its environment. The ritual is called the
The melasti ceremony or also called melelasti can be defined as nganyudang malaning gumi ngamet tirta
amerta, which means washing away natural impurities using the water of life. In Hindu
religious beliefs, water sources such as lakes and seas can be considered as the origin of the water of
life or tirta amerta.
These water sources will later provide life for all living things, including humans.
Therefore, the melasti ceremony is always held in special places such as the edge of a lake or
In the melasti ceremony, people will come in groups to water sources such as seas and lakes.
Each group or entourage usually comes from the same regional unit, for example from the same
village or banjar.
Each of these groups will come with a set of sacred worship tools, namely statues, pratima, and pralingga
from the temples in their respective areas. Later, these tools will be purified.
Each member of the community also prepares offerings according to their respective abilities.
This dish is a complementary part of the melasti ceremony.
Before the ritual is carried out, usually the committee from each group will provide a stage or table that
is positioned towards the back of the water source. This table is used as a place to place
various sacred worship items from the temple along with various offerings.
All members of the group then sit cross-legged facing the array of worship instruments and offerings, as
well as facing the source of the holy water. Religious leaders or local stakeholders will then
become leaders in the procession of this melasti ceremony.
The stakeholders will go around and sprinkle holy water on all the people present as well as worship items and
spread incense smoke as a form of purification.
Next, a prayer ritual was performed by all members of the group. The stakeholders will then
distribute holy water and also bija. Bija is rice that has been soaked in holy water.
The holy water will later be drunk while the bija will be put on the forehead of each parishioner
who comes. After the procession ends, the worship items are paraded back to the temple to
undergo other ritual stages.