Mepasah, Funeral Tradition of Trunyan Village

Mepasah, Funeral Tradition of Trunyan Village


Trunyan located in the area of Kintamani, Bangli regency, Bali. Trunyan is a remote village on the shores of Lake Batur, so for travelers who want to enter Trunyan have to cross by boat passing Lake Batur.

Trunyan which is one of the areas inhabited by tribe of ‘Bali Aga’ or ‘Bali Mula; still firmly holds the belief of their ancestors. Bali Aga or Bali Mula is the first ethnic group inhabiting the island of Bali. Until now Bali Aga tribe and all its uniqueness still can be found in some places in Bali, one of them in Trunyan.

In daily life of Balinese people which mostly “Hindu”, if there are relatives who died, there is cremation or burying the bodies based on Hinduism. In Trunyan, the bodies are not buried or cremated as is generally the case in other areas, Trunyan villagers put their relatives bodies who have died on the ground, covered with a cloth and bamboo that are arranged to form a prism. Trunyan people named it Mepasah.

In Mepasah, after purifying ceremony by cleaning it with rainwater, the body is just put on the ground. There are holes on the place to lay the bodies about 10 to 20 cm in order to keep the position of the body due to the unsmooth contours of the burial ground. Besides the face, their body parts are wrapped in white cloth. As a marker, the body is covered with bamboo which is arranged to form a prism called ‘ancak saji’. The unique thing is that although the bodies are placed on the ground, the bodies are not smelly.

The corpse is placed between the tree of Taru Menyan, ‘taru’ means trees and and ‘menyan’ means fragrnt. Presumably, the aroma that comes out from the tree can neutralize the surrounding air. The trees that emit a distinctive strong only grow in this area, although it has been attempted grown in other areas. The uniqueness of this tree seems to have become the forerunner to the name of the village.

Under one tree of ‘taru menyan’, can only be put maximum of eleven bodies. It has been set by local indigenous belief. But some say that one tree can only neutralize eleven bodies, if more than that then the bodies will emit an odor. When there are new bodies, then the longest one is moved into open area, not covered by ‘ancak saji’ but put together with the other bodies in the structure of rock or under a tree.

It is no wonder if in that place, there are bones and items such as sandals , spoons, dishes, clothes, and others scattered in the cemetery area. It is intentional because there are items that should not be taken out of the area of the cemetery.

But not all bodies can be treated the same as those already mentioned. Only on certain conditions the bodies may be buried like this. Terms for bodies that can be buried in this way are those who at the time of death had been married, people who are still single and young children having no milk teeth, the people who died in a reasonable state and there are no injuries which has not been recovered, as well as having a complete body part. If you do not qualify, then the body is buried

Trunyan people have set procedures of funeral. There are three types of ‘sema’ (cemetery) in Trunyan and has been distinguished by the age of died person, the completeness of body parts, and the way of burial.

The first burial area is called ‘sema wayah’, it is considered the best and the most sacred, that is, when the bodies can be buried in Mepasah way. The second is ‘sema muda’, in this place the corpses are burried, destined for children or infants who still have milk teeth. The third type is ‘sema Bantas’, as well as in ‘sema muda’, the corpses are buried, but it is intended for people in condition of ‘Ulah Patu and ‘Salah Pati’, ie at the time of death they left injured and the cause of death is not normal like accidents, loss of lives caused by others, lost their lives because of accident, and uncomplete body parts.

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