Music, laughter and a happy celebration blocked the road Lulu and I were taking in the outskirts of Denpasar in Bali.

I asked our driver, "What's going on? Whatever it is, it looks like fun."

"Big funeral," he answered. "Want to go?"

For us -- foreigners, at that -- to attend the funeral of a total stranger seemed out of the question.

He persisted. "No, you can go. Big party. Many cremated."

This, it turned out, was not a single funeral but included eight people. Because of the cost of such events, bodies are frequently accumulated for a mass cremation.

This traditional Hindu funeral came to Bali in the 4th Century AD and has, over time, been modified by Buddhistic and Islamic influences. The ritual is delightful, featuring performing arts of charm and grace.

Because death is the threshold to a happier life, funerals in Bali are joyous events. In this case, not only for the Balinese but also for two Americans.