Nusa Penida - Mike describes a happry cremation ceremony.
Nusa Penida is an island to the south of Bali in Indonesia. We've been staying in the village of Ped where there has been chanting going on all night! Strange chanting from the nearby Hindu temple, a mix of chant, conversation and laughter. It's part of the 'Silent Day for the Sea Ceremony' which culminates in a day where nobody can go in or on the sea - that's locals and visitors alike - so there's no ferries, no fishing and no swimming for the day.
There was another ceremony taking place at the same time, where the whole of the village of Ped came out. There was a big procession, a huge effigy of a white bull, and a gamelan orchestra. It was an intensely happy scene, with music, laughter and kids getting treats - there were people everywhere.
To see a short video of the procession on YouTube click here.
Mike is originally from England but has lived in Ped for many years. He and his Indonesian wife own the Gallery Cafe and Shop, a socially motivated business that supports the local community.
In the audio above Mike describes the cremation ceremony in terms of it being a very happy occasion, where the whole village comes out to celebrate the purpose of life in Hindu terms. To be cremated quickly and go to 'heaven'.
It was very joyous and public - so different from most funerals in the Western world. I felt we had much to learn from it about the relationship between life, death and happiness.
We really enjoyed Nusa Penida. There was little tourism, with the main other economic activities being subsistence seaweed farming and small scale agriculture. There was an amazing beach - Crystal Bay - with great snorkelling/diving; an underground temple - Goa Giri Putri Temple; and an amazing coastline dominated by seaweed farms, overlooking the volcanoes of Bali or staggering limestone cliffs.
It was fun travelling around on a scooter.