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Reincarnation   Philippines
The spirit world holds great sway in day-to-day Balinese culture. So, some might say that the highlight of one’s life is one’s death.

The cremation ceremony is a celebratory village affair, but, most importantly, it represents the cycle of life for a family. Believing that their newborn children are the reincarnations of their deceased ancestors (but only if the ancestor’s spirit has been released), their rituals pertaining to life, death and renewal are best explored beginning with death. When someone dies, it is believed that he or she must undergo certain rituals in order for their spirit to be released. The most important of the rituals is that of cremation. Ask your hotel staff or your guide about any upcoming cremation ceremonies. I highly recommend using a guide at a cost of $40-200 per day based upon how much you’re driving and how many people are in your group. My favorite is Made Jiwa from Batuan (near Ubud) – JiwaMade@hotmail.com

Because newborns are believed to be the reincarnation of ancestors, the complex Balinese calendar system is consulted whenever a child is born in order to closely determine which ancestor this child may be. So, all Balinese feel some deep connection with their ancestors as well as the responsibility of living a good life so that their future ancestors can experience good karma.

For all these reasons, it’s only appropriate that this young girl carries this photo at her grandmother’s cremation ceremony.

South East Asia