The Death of a King

6 Nov

In August the king of Peliatan died. Peliatan is the neighbouring community to Ubud. As Bali is a hinduistic society, deads are burnt and not buried. However, you cannot just burn a person once he/she died. First of all you have to ask the priest when it is a good day to burn the corpse. And if you are unlucky you have to wait a month. On top of this burning people is expensive with all the ceremonies and offerings. So ordinary people often burry their dead family members and wait until they have the money to burn them or until they can join in a group burning. This can take years.

The king of Peliatan died in August and he was buried in November. This was not a question of not having money, but of preparing a royal funeral. So the king was buried for a few weeks. A cow was build that will contain the sarcophagus while being burned.

Then a dragon was built that will carry the nobleman during the ceremony (A gift from the king of Ubud). And then a tower of 28 meters height that will be used to transport the corpse of the king. It is said that the tower alone cost 250.000$.

On the day of the funeral all Peliatan and Ubud were on the street to see the parade. It was burning hot and we waited two hours in the shade at the side of the street. Already this was an event on its own. People from all nations were mixing and making a party out of the waiting.

After 12 o’clock the corpse was carried via a ramp into the tower. Then all three things were carried by men the 2,5km road to the burning ground. All together it was said that more then 6000 men participated in carrying as the teams needed to be changed every few hundred meters. The streets along the parade were full of people it was the event of the year.

A picture of the late king was carried at the front of the parade followed, by musicians, then the princesses followed on chairs being carried, noble man, etc. All in all the parade was almost 1km long.

At the end came the cow, the dragon and the tower. It was so difficult to carry the tower that it crashed two times into the crowd. Some people we know got badly hurt, but luckily nobody died like in previous processions.

At the end the procession reached the burry ground sound and save and the king was burned later in the day.

It was an amazing event. Like in a time machine. The princesses, the musicians, the nobleman and priest on the dragon.  We were lucky to be around.

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