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Published on Apr 20, 2007
I was lucky enough to be invited to a small rice farming village deep in the Balinese jungle that was conducting a mass exhumation of their dead. Balinese Hindus cremate their dead, which according to their customs enables the spirit of the deceased the ability to reincarnate into the next life. Due to the high cost of individual cremations poor villages bury their dead temporally until they can pool their money together to pay for a mass cremation. The graves are then dug up, the bones hand washed in Balinese holy water by family members, anointed with offering, and finally cremated. It was not a sad ceremony. As it was explained to me by a local, the immediate death of a loved one is very sad but the cremation is a chance for the soul to be reborn, therefore a positive event.