AP PHOTOS: Bali holds mass cremation for over 100 deceased

PADANGBAI, Indonesia (AP) — Hundreds of people wearing white shirts and traditional clothes gathered along the coast of Padangbai port on the Indonesian resort island of Bali for a mass cremation ceremony taking place in their village for the first time.

Families in Padangbai are sending off 117 deceased. They were previously buried in a public cemetery, not far from the cremation site.

Cremation is usually held by individual families, but the mass ceremony eases the burden of cost. Some families waited for more than five years for the cremation.

The Hindu rites on Friday started in the morning as the residents paraded bade, a 6-meter (20-foot) wooden tower carrying bodies and a coffin in the shape of Gajah Mina, an elephant-headed fish, to the sea. The relatives who took part in the procession also brought photos of their deceased family members and put them inside the bade.

As the procession made its way to a wide space around the cemetery, the relatives took the bones from the bade and put them into the coffin before they were cremated.

The Balinese Hindus believe cremation releases the soul of the dead so they can start the next cycle of life.

“We are doing the mass cremation, so we can do it together,” said Eka Primawata, the secretary of Karangasem cultural village. “With this mass cremation, this cultural village becomes … more harmonious.”

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