setting up the cremation grounds
preparing some of the offerings
table of offerings
time for the placement of the roast baby pigs
not sure but i assume the clothing is that of the dearly departed.
(personally, i love the skirt. gives a whole new meaning to 'dressed' meat.)
like i said, everything was extremely elaborate.
this was the 'hall' of the dead loved ones. you can see has his or her (actually there were only 2 women out of the 32 people being cremated) own area. the offerings in front of the photos are pretty much indentical. when it comes time, the families will take the offerings out piece by piece to the cremation ground.
one of the few women
one of the more disturbing things i saw...these chicks tied to the bottom of the offerings table. i couldn't help but wonder if they were going to be added to the offerings pile which would become a pyre...
poor little chickadees (typical western reaction, i'm sure)
money is part of the offerings. again, not sure if it is 'saved' from actual burning.
these knives will be used to cut open the sarcophagus.
the first part of the ceremony begins, involving some sprinkling of water and blessings.
and offering distribution to family members
not sure what this mini-burning is for.
sprinkling holy water on the heads of family members...
and in their hands, which they then put on their heads
sitting with dad, ready to play
this man started reading his book and chanting. literally every tourist in the place lined up to take his picture. with good reason, of course. again, not sure what his role was or even if he had an official one. he was just sitting on the ground among the guests and i mostly assumed he was just sort of doing this on his own.
finally, we get to play!
as i said, it was not a particularly somber event.
the cremation ground
now begins all kinds of preparations of the sarcophagus that i can't explain.
yes, that is a teletubby with a pinwheel on its head.
the procession around the sarcophagi begins.
and here is where the piglet plays its role.
if i seem to be obsessed with the pigs, i apologize.
(notice the guy in the video, which is next, holding the white cloth. i am pretty sure those are the 'remains' that will go inside the sarcophagus.)
this guy, despite being charged with what you would think would be the most important task (holding the remains and placing it inside the sarcophagus), had his earphones plugged in the entire time.
setting the chicks free...what a relief to me (not that all chicks won't eventually be eaten, of course--and some by me). after they managed to get the bindings off their legs, they sort of threw them in the air. they didn't fly. the men laughed. that was the last i saw of the chicadees.
cutting open the sarcophagus
placing the remains inside (wonder what the musical accompaniment was...)
time for the anointing! so many jars and little plastic bags full of liquids of various colors, each passed, in its turn, to the priest.
each family had its own priest, so the ritual was performed simultaneously at the various sarcophagi where they were placed around the grounds.
another tray at another family's area
pouring a water bottle full of gasoline. getting ready for what's to come...
the procession over, this sarcophagus is covered with offerings and almost ready to burn.
another anointing session
and then suddenly things were starting to be lit...
these baskets of offerings, each with their attendant fire, was on one side of the cremation grounds. again, apologies for my inability to explain. i got separated much earlier on from the people i came with, so i really didn't have anyone around to help enlighten me as to what was happening and why.
and then suddenly all the piles were pyres.
the crowd watching the flames