Images and Odors in Javanese Practices Surrounding Death

James T. Siegel
1983 Indonesia  
Neighbors (unrelated) posing with a new corpse. Another view of the corpse. A man arranges the disinterred bones of his father. 2. I attended twenty-two funerals and saw expressions of g rie f only on the occa sions I note later in the paper. 1 was present shortly after deaths had occurred in three of the families. In one case, I was there minutes after the death; in another, within a couple of hours, in several other cases, I had ample opportunity to see if family members grieved in the months
more » ... ieved in the months after the death. Javanese do not think g rie f is in itself shameful. It is disapproved of only if it disrupts others. On three occasions Javanese freely admitted their g rief to me, which makes me feel that the many others who denied grieving, who said they were instantly "detached" or ik la s , were accurate in their statements. Occasionally some one would report another state, b in g u n g , or confusion, as their firs t reaction to learning of a death. 3. "Ritual and Social Change: A Javanese Example," in The In te rp re ta tio n o f 1 2 Even the family members closest to the deceased often, perhaps usually, are iklas, "detached," within minutes after a d e a th .1 * How is this achieved and how is it maintained? I will focus on two bits of paraphernalia to find an answer: photo graphs and incense. The funeral ceremony has been described elsewhere; briefly it consists of ora tory, thanking the guests for their attendance and eulogies of the deceased in the highest possible Javanese. * * 4 5 There are minor differences between ceremonies de pending on the religion of the deceased. But a Christian funeral, a Muslim funeral, or the funeral of a nominally Muslim person are in general outline the same. A fter the oratory and prayers, the body is transported to the cemetery. There are fu r ther ceremonies three, seven, fo rty, a hundred, and a thousand days after the death, as well as ceremonies at the erection of the gravestone and on the firs t and sometimes second anniversaries of the death. The purpose of the ceremonies is to pray that the soul of the deceased be accepted by God.
doi:10.2307/3351023 fatcat:bwsnsuqd6jgxndjxgh2sxrf3qm