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Indonesian Traditional Ceremony – The Unique Funeral

Indonesian traditional ceremony is part of Indonesia’s cultural, linguistic, and ethnic diversity. Indonesian culture is influenced by the religious customs and beliefs of its inhabitants.

Here are some of the most unique and amazing Indonesian traditional ceremonies.

And yet, it does still exist nowadays.

1. Ngaben – Bali

Indonesian Traditional Ceremony - The Unique Funeral

Ngaben is an Indonesian traditional ceremony for burning the bodies of Hindus in Bali. this ceremony is a ritual that is performed to return ancestral spirits to their original place.

This Unique Indonesian traditional Ceremony in Bali has a subtle connotation, namely Palebon.

Its implementation is so magnificent and unique that it is known by all corners of the country.

It is this kind of traditional ceremony that needs to preserve considering the thick culture that is still very visible in all aspects.

This ceremony is also done with special procedures in accordance with religious rituals in Bali and should not be done arbitrarily

Why They Burn The Bodies?

In Hindu belief, the body of a person who passes away except for suicide or a baby is recommended to be burned or Diaben.

This is because humans in Hindu belief are made from the Panca Mahabhuta namely ether, air, fire, water, and earth

How is The Process?

The Ngaben ceremony has been performed from generation to generation until now.

Balinese Hindus from the destitute groups often carry out Ngaben ceremonies simultaneously or collectively because the aim is to save costs.

usually, the bodies of the dead are buried first, then Dingaben when they have been gathering together.

However, those who are present will hasten the procession of this ceremony as soon as possible.

Not infrequently keep their body at home for a while waiting for a good day according to their beliefs.

Goal of Ceremonial

There are three main objectives of holding this Balinese Ngaben Ceremony.

Its main purpose is to purify the spirits of Hindus who have passed away and speed up the process of returning the bodies of the dead to their original nature.

This is taken from the Vedic scriptures Samhita more precisely the contents of the Yujurveda.

It is written that every Hindu who dies must be turned into ashes so that his atma reaches moksha or heaven.

The second goal is to restore the Panca Maha Bhuta.

Panca Maha Bhuta itself is the element that makes up the gross human body.

This is because the Balinese Hindu community believes that the human body consists of a gross body and a subtle body.

The gross body is the body which the spirit stays with, and when it dies, must return to the Creator.

The last goal is as a form of sincerity. When a family is left by someone, they must carry out what is namely the Ngaben ceremony procession.

As a form of their sincerity to release family members who have already left the world.

By performing this ritual, there will be no more tears of sadness in the families.

2. Waruga – Minahasa

The Minahasa people have a unique funeral tradition.

It is known as Waruga.

The word Waruga comes from ‘waru’ which means ‘house’ and also from the word ‘ruga’ which means ‘body’.

So literally, Waruga means ‘the house where the body will return to heaven’Waruga means ‘the house where the body will return to heaven

Waruga tradition is the burial of the body in a hollow stone box then covered with a triangular stone.

The position of a corpse in the rock is shaped like a baby in the womb, where the heels touch the buttocks, and the mouth kisses the knees.

The Minahasa people believe that humans die in the same position when they are born into the world.

In addition, to perform like a baby in the womb, the corpse is also laid in a position facing north which indicates the ancestors of the Minahasa people who came from the north.

In ancient times, only certain people could be buried in Waruga.

People with high social status who can be buried in Waruga also appear through the engraving on the cover.

there is a motif of a woman giving birth to indicate that the one buried is a dukun (witch).

And animal images show that those buried in Waruga are hunters.

The cover is carved up with pictures of several people showing that the one buried is one family.

3. Rambu Solo – Toraja

source : IDN Tmes

Rambu Solo‘ is an Indonesian traditional funeral ceremony that requires the family of the late to hold a party as a sign of final respect for the late

The word’ Rambu Solo‘ in the Toraja language literally means the smoke that is directly downward.

Smoke that is directly downwards means the rituals of offering (smoke) for the dead which are carried out after 12 o’clock when the sun begins to move downwards.

Rambu solo‘ is often namely Aluk Rampe Matampu‘, rituals in the west, because after 12 o’clock the sun is in the west.

Therefore, the offering rites are carried out in the west of Tongkonan, the traditional house of Toraja.

The solo sign ceremony in Tahna Toraja requires a very large (expensive) cost.

At the death party, they slaughter a large number of buffaloes.

The levels in the Rambu Solo ceremony indicate the social strata of the community.

There are 4 levels, namely:

1. The Dasilli ceremony is the lowest level funeral ceremony in Aluk Todolo (It is the values ​​of belief held by the Toraja people or specifically can be namely animism.

This ceremony is for the lowest strata and for children who have no teeth.

2. The Di Pasangbongi ceremony is a ceremony for ordinary people/free people (Tana’ Karurung).

This ceremony only takes one night.

3. The Dibatang ceremony or Digoya Tedong is a ceremony for middle nobles (Tana’ Bassi) and high nobles who cannot afford it.

This ceremony slaughters one buffalo every day during the ceremony.

they tie the Buffaloes to stakes guarding them all night and do not sleep.

4. Rampasan ceremony is a ceremony for high nobles (Tana ‘Bulaan).

The large cost of holding a solo sign ceremony is borne by all family members.

Every family participates in the event.

Participation is carried out by handing over the property that is needed in the ceremony.

The main assets are buffalo, pigs, and others.

4. Trunyan Cemetary – Bali

Indonesia traditional ceremony


The Trunyan people have a funeral tradition where the body is buried on a large rock that has 7 basins.

Terunyan Village custom regulates the procedure for burying corpses for its citizens.

In this village, there are three graves (sema) dedicated to three different types of death.

If one of Terunyan’s residents died naturally, his body was covered with a white cloth.

held in a ceremony, and then placed without being buried under a large tree namely Taru Menyan, in a location namely Sema Wayah.

However, if the cause of death is unnatural, such as due to an accident, suicide, or victim of murder.

The body will be placed in a location namely Sema Bantas.

Meanwhile, to bury babies and small children, residents who are adults but single will be placed in Sema Muda (Miarta Yasa House)

The explanation as to why the corpses which laid neatly in the Sema (grave) did not cause any odor even though naturally.

But the decomposition of the corpses happens, due to the Taru Menyan tree, which can emit a fragrant smell and is able to neutralize the stench of corpses.

Taru means tree, while incense means fragrant.

This Taru incense tree only grows in this area.

Be Tarumenyan which later became better known as Terunyan which to believed to be the origin of the name of the village.

5. Brobosan – Java

Indonesia traditional ceremony

source : Pondok Pesantren Sidogiri

Brobosan tradition is a ritual performed by the Javanese people when a relative or family dies.

In this ritual, the family will walk under the coffin.

Brobosan means ‘breaking through, which is alternating three times under a coffin that is being lifted up high.

Starting from the right to the left, forward, until back to the right.

Relatives and neighbors will help prepare Ubo Rampe, food in offerings.

After the Ubo Rampe is already done, there will be a speech from the representative of the family.

This Indonesian traditional ceremony ritual is officially in the front yard of the late’s house before the body is sent to the funeral.

The implementation was done by the closest family and led by the eldest male family member.

This tradition is closely related to the wisdom of the Javanese, which refers to a filial attitude towards their parents or ancestors.

Closest families, such as children and grandchildren, do wasteful based on the Javanese proverb “Mikul dhuwur mendhem jero” which means always upholding and remembering the services of people who have passed away.

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