The Ngaben (cremation rite) is a sacred right of passage in Bali. The Hindu-Balinese believe the body is impure, a temporary shell, having no significance at all, except as a container of the soul and its anchor to the earth. All thoughts at the time of death are concentrated upon the spirit and its passage to heaven. The body is just there to be disposed of, and, instead of grieving, the Balinese prefer to throw a great celebration, in the process hastening their dead friend’s soul to oneness with god.
Nyepi is a Balinese “Day of Silence” that is commemorated every Isakawarsa (Saka new year) according to Bali’s calendar (in 2012, it will be on March 23rd). It is a day of silence, fasting, and meditation. The day following Nyepi is also celebrated as New year. Observed from 6 a.m. until 6 a.m. the next morning, Nyepi is a day reserved for self-reflection and as such, anything that might interfere with that purpose is restricted. The main restrictions are: no lighting fires (and lights must be kept low); no working;