baris dancers, and scores of boys carrying spears, banners,
and flags, followed bv long lines of women offering-bearers,
come at the head of the parade; they represent the retinue
of the souls in the effigies which are borne on silver platters
on the heads of a specially picked group of beautiful girls
in ceremonial full dress - diadems of trembling gold flowers
on elaborate arrangements of hair, lacy scarfs binding their
breasts, and yellow or green skirts of brocade trailing
in the dirt.
the effigies of the prominent dead are carried on the arms
of the youngest descendant of the family, a boy or a girl
dressed in silks and gold, riding on a gilt palanquin and
shaded by gilt umbrellas of state. Groups of men relatives
close the procession. In Pliatan we once saw some fifty
men uniformed in yellow trailing loincloths, magenta breast-cloths,
and white head-dresses, all wearing gold krisses, awkwardly
conscious of being admired, marching in triple file to the
beat of gongs and drums amidst bursting firecrackers.
procession goes to the priest's house, where he waits to
consecrate the effigies through a performance of Maweda,
the spoken formula emphasized by gestures of the hands.
The priest recites his formulas, flings flowers, and sprinkles
holy water towards the effigies, which are reverently held
in front of him by the kneeling girls. After the ceremony
the procession returns home, stopping along the way in the
temple of the family's origin to offer a final prayer. At
the house, towards dusk, the baris dancers perform war dances
to cast a protecting net of magic vibrations, and shows
are given to entertain the guests.
guests, and populace spend the night divided between watching
an all-night shadow-play and listening to public readings
of the Balinese classic Bhima Swarga, the tale of the fantastic
adventures of Bhima on his visit to Hades. Tradition prescribes
that this should be read aloud from beginning to end on
the eve of cremation. In dark corners people huddle to steal
naps. Outside, the orchestras, among them the gambang, only
heard at cremations, boom and hum throughout the night.
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