Bali Culture

The Balinese are an extremely devote and spiritual mix. In Bali there are over 10,000 temples. The Balinese believe that good spirits dwell in the mountains and that the seas are home to demons. Therefore, most villages have at least three main temples: one of which is the Pura Puseh or ‘temple of origin’, is dedicated to the village founders and which faces to Mt Agung – home to Pura Besakih the mother temple on Bali. Also, each home, rice field or market can have several temples and as well as rice fields. Daily offerings are made at these temples in he form of food, cigarettes, sweets and sometimes even money in order to honor the good spirits and satiate the evil spirits.

Balinese society is founded on the Hindu caste system, though there are several differences. For example, the Balinese do not have untouchables. Instead in Bali, there are four castes; Sundras , the peasants who comprise over 90% of the population, Wesias , the warrior caste, which also includes traders and some nobility, Satrias , the caste of kings, and Pedanas , the holy men and priests (brahman). Amazingly, each caste has its own language; a separate dialect exists to enable someone to address one of unknown caste to avoid disrespect. Luckily, to prevent confusion, the national language of Indonesia (Bahasia Indonesia), is taught in schools and enables everyone generally to communicate with one another.

There are two sub-classes in Bali called the Subak and the Banjar. The Subak controls who will plant rice and when (plantings are staggered so that pestilence is minimized). All farmers or rice paddy owners must join the Subak in their village. As well and more importantly the Subak ensures that all farmers receive just amounts of irrigation water. Meanwhile, the Banjar are in charge of all other aspects of Balinese life such as marriages, cremations, community service and festivals.
In Bali, the birth of a child is attended by the entire family, and a holy man who invokes spiritual powers and aids the delivery. Balinese are named according to its order in the family; Wayan for the first born, Made for the second, Nyoman for the third and Ketut for the fourth. The names are repeated for more than four children.

English: Balinese_dancers Ubud

English: Balinese_dancers Ubud (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mount Agung, Indonesia

Mount Agung, Indonesia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Balinese Dancers

Balinese Dancers (Photo credit: Praziquantel)

Balinese Room

Balinese Room (Photo credit: Gexydaf)

English: Shrine at Pura Puseh Temple in Batuan...

English: Shrine at Pura Puseh Temple in Batuan, near Ubud on Bali. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Balinese Culture

Balinese Culture (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Geographically Bali lies between the island of Java and Lombok, and is one of more than 13.000 island that make up the Indonesian Archipelago, Bali is one of the land ever green island stretching approximately 140 Km,

from east to west, and 95 Km, from south to north. If you, would like to go on trip around Bali Island, it will be takeRoughly about two days only.Bali has many volcanic mountains, stretching from east to west, and most recently active being Mount Agung, which reaches 3142 meters above sea level situated in east part of Bali Island and last erupted in 1963.

Bali has tropical climate with two season in a year, in six month are dry seasons with the average annual temperature of around 28°C and the rest of the year are rainy seasons.

The volcanic soil and Wealthy monsoon: seasons makes Bali island extremely fertile, which is most of the land are cultivated.

History:

Since from 11th, Century Bali had Political and Cultural contact with Hindu and Javanese Culture, Only in 1343 AD, Bali was brought under Javanese control. During the 16th, Century with spread of Islam from Malaysia, through Sumatra, and Java, the powerful Hindu Majapahit Kingdom of east Java began to collapse, with a large exodus of Aristocracy Priests, Artists, and Artists sans to Bali.

This invasion brought very important changes in Culture, Religion, Art, and the whole Balinese society including the introduction of the Cast system.

Few Balinese aborigines did not accept the new influence and they decided to move their own homes and villages, far away in remote mountainous areas, where they are still living today together with their ancient traditions.

The following centuries are considered as Golden Age of Bali cultural history, and during that time Bali flourished in all the Arts.

The first Europeans to set foot on Bali were Dutch seaman in 1597, at that time the Balinese aristocracy was enjoying unprecedented prosperity.

During the World War II Dutch and Japanese troops colonized Island until 1945, Indonesian Independence year was declared by the first President of Indonesia.

Religion:

Most of the Balinese are Hindu religion, we belief in one God, or the supreme God, name’s Sanghyang Widhi Wasa. Although Balinese worship the Hindu trinity, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, these are seen as manifestation of the supreme God. In connecting with the trinity, in every single villages we have at least three main temples, such as ;Village temple or Pura Desa usually built in the center of the village, dedicated to Brahma, as the creator, and the symbol is red in color,Puseh temple or Pura Puseh, usually built more higher than other temples, that’s represented Holy Mountain, dedicated to Wishnu, as the Protector, and the symbol is black in color.Pura Dalem or Dalem temple, built near by the cemetery is the temple for the death, dedicated to Shiva as the destroyer and the symbol is white in color.

Beside the three main temples, in every single village, there are also family’s temples in each-house compound.

That is the reason, Bali also called the island of thousand temples, Balinese Hindu religion also belief with the Reincarnation, for that reason the cremation ceremony are performed as the process to purified the spirit from the body to be ready for the next lives. We believed strongly in magic, and the power of spirits, and much of our religion is based on this.

In our philosophy there are two forces of spirits are exist in the world, both of them have each own characteristic, such as good spirit and evil spirit, or positive and negative forces.

The good spirit and the God are dwelling in the upper places or Holy Mountain, and the evil spirit or demons are dwelling in the seas.

These two forces are always fighting each others, and never ending with won one of them. This represented these two forces with black and white color, to symbolize that the world are always black and white, or good and bad, aid dynamic.

While you are in Bali, you will found the black and white cloth; they put on the shrines, on the statues, on the fichus Benjamin, or as the scarf for the man while they are going to the temple.

These two forces has to be kept in balanced, to maintain the revolves on the world in harmony.In our religious philosophy, there are three ways of life to create the balance, peaceful life, and happiness in the world which we call it “Tri Hita Karana” Its mean;

1. Good and harmony relationship in between the human being and the God

2. Good and harmony relationship in between the human being and others

3. Good and harmony relationship in between the human being and the other creatures, the nature, and the environment.

For that reason we always offer the offerings during the days, in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, and in every single part of the social life activities, or during the temple festival. A small offering in the morning, are made of banana leaf, with some food on it, we put around the compound inside or outside of the house in the shop, and on the entrance gate, the meaning of this offerings id to thanks to the God for blessing, and to apologize because during cooking we are killing so much seedling, and animals for food. The afternoon offerings called Canang sari, are made of coconut leaf with full decoration, and colorful of flowers, the meaning of these offerings is to representing of our prosperity, and happiness, and thanks to the God for all the blessing.

The evening offerings are made of banana leaf, with some colored rice and some ingredient on it, the meaning of these offerings is to asking protection from the good spirit, so that the bad spirit won’t disturb us during the dark.

The traditional Balinese Orientation is quite different from the normal cardinal point in the world, especially for the north and south directional.

Tie Balinese respect that the mountain are holy, and dwelling place of the God, is the reference point of Balinese North, event it is not is the north, and the seas as the home of evil spirit, or lower places is always reference as the South (Balinese), event it is not in south.

In connecting with this orientation, all Balinese people from the small village until the big town are sleeping with their head position pointed to the Holy Mountain, or Balinese North.

Community organization

In every single villages Balinese society have a traditional community organization, called Banjar system, and each family as a member of a Banjar, and each of the community organization in every single village has a public building known as Bale Banjar, complete with Bale kul-kul, or kul-kul tower, and the Ulun Banjar, or the temple of Banjar membership. Banjar on average have a membership of between 100 up-to 300 families In the Bale Banjar they conduct the regular meetings, and social life activities as well as a form of the community services, such as ; temples festival, cremation ceremonies, and being used for gamelan orchestras, and dancing groups practices.

In every Banjar, they have a special day for meetings conducted in Balinese calendar which is coming once; in every 35 days. The Banjar system already known worldwide, and succeed in Bali. The traditional organization chart of the Banjar system are very simple, the top leader of the Banjar is called Kelihan Banjar, the secretary called, Penyarikan, and the treasurer called Panengen, and the section unite called Kesinoman.

The kul-kul is a very big wooden bell, hanging on a very high tower which is used for calling the Banjar member during the meetings period or other social life activities.

For the ordinary cases, the sound of the kul-kul will be very slow, and calm, and for the special or emergency cases the sound of the kul-kul will be very fast and long, or called kul-kul bulus.

Traditional Balinese house compound:

Traditionally Balinese have their ancient typical of house compound whose roots in Balinese cultural.

The house are surrounded by a low wall, inside there are many separated small building for each household function.

There are a place for cooking, and the Lumbung, is a place for rice storage barn is next to the kitchen, one place for guest pavilion, in front of the kitchen, one place for keeping the dead body while they are preparing an offering for the cremation ceremony, and waiting for the right day. One place for social life activities as well as tooth filing ceremony, wedding ceremony, cremation ceremony and others.

The special place with completely walled, in without windows is a place for a new married couple, where they keep them for one month aid seven days, and during this period they are not allowed to go out from the compound, because we respect that on this period they have a holy duty for continuing the important generation, during this period all of the rest of the family serve them.

On northeast side of the compound is a family temple with few shrines. Usually the compound is entered through a gateway, with a small place for offering on it, called apit lawang, and inside of the gateway there is, a small wall, called aling-aling, is to protect the evil spirit for entering the house compound, according to legend that the evil spirit only can go in straightaway.

Inside or outside of the compound, there are always a small garden where they plant many kind of flowers, and a useful plantations which they used it for offerings and daily needs.

KUTA
Kuta never stops changing and it’s pace can be exhilarating (in contrast to the pace of it’s road traffic, which can be glacially slow, especially during the high season). The town’s main roads boast a bewildering array of shopping opportunities, and it’s web of backstreets is also jammed with shops, cafes and kiosks, albeit on a more friendly scale. KUta beach is as alive as ever and is currently in the throes of a new phase of development, with a more upscale, urban flavor. The site of the 2002 Kuta bombings now rivals the beach as a tourist magnet, and is being developed as a “peace park” with a monumentand open space planned.

JIMBARAN
The village of Jimbaran lies on the western shore of the narrow isthmus connecting the Bukit peninsula to the main island. It’s beach-lined bay has developed slower than it’s northern neighbours, Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. Although there are now several fine hotels and villas here, many of the locals are still fishermen. In the afternoon you can see their boats heading out to sea from the front of Jimbaran fish market. Nearby, on the beach, there are rows of casual cafes serving superb, just-caught fish grilled over coconut husks.

PURA LUHUR ULUWATU
The most famous temple is Pura Luhur Uluwatu, at the southwest extremity of the peninsula, perched on a high limestone cliff. This is one of the most visited tourist destinations, especially at sunset, when for a few moment the light is unearthly. The surf just below Uluwatu is word-famous.

NUSA DUA
Life on the once-poor Bukit has been transformend since the building of the five-star hotel complex at Nusa Dua on the Bukit’s northeast coast in the 1980’s. (The “two island” to which the name refers are two projections of rock in the middle of this expensive stretch of beach.

TOYABUNGKAH HOT SPRING

Also called Air Panas, Toyabungkah is the site of another important spring temple, but it more conspicuously a tourist spot. The hot springs, flowing into cement-lined pools on the lakeshore, are crownded, and popular with Indonesian students and day-trippers. From here one can embark on a hike up Mount Batur, but those who prefer to observe an active volcano without climbing into it may take a close look at the lava flow left by the 1965-74 eruptions. the road through Toyabungkah toward Songan comes to an abrupt half at the lava flow. The reason the goes no farther becomes dramatically clear.

TENGANAN

Desa Adat Tenganan Pengringsingan (as the innermost community is called) believe that their adat, or customary law, was granted to them by the god Indra in a special covanant, and they have protected the spiritual purity of their realm by an iron-clad obedience to their adat for many centuries. Despite its brittle exclusivity, Tenganan welcomes foreign visitors during daylight hours. For decades, scholars and interested visitors have been attracted to this “living museum”, many of them drawn by the magical geringsing cloth woven by the women of Tenganan. In the recent tourism boom, the trickle of tourists has become a deluge, and the villagers’ response, understandably enough, has been to put a ticket booth by the gate. Visitors are politely tolerated until dusk when the village gates close and only those of the inner tribe remain within.

PURI SAREN PALACE

One of the most respected dance groups in Bali performs several nights a week in the outercortyard of the principal palace, at the northeast corner of the central crossroads. Their backdrop is a grand gate, kori agung, built by Ubud’s most famous artist, I Gusti Nyoman Lempad. It separates the outer courtyard from the inner sanctums of the palace where the current riling cokorda lives. The Puri Saren was demolished by the great earthquake of 1971, so the maze of courtyards, pavilions, and elaborate gates extending far behind the kori agung were mostly built soon thereafter.

CELUK, VILLAGE OF ALCHEMISTS

Most of which spesialize in the gold and silver jewelry for which Celuk is the island’s undisputed center. Turning left off the main road in the center of the village you can enter a maze of back alleys where from almost every household emanates the sounds of hammering, chiseling, and filing as people work to supply these shops with nsmall masterpieces, and to fulfill large export orders.

THE BARONG DANCE

Batubulan’s other great claim to fame is trance – every morning 9.30 sharp. Here you can witness the eternal conflict between Ratu Barong, the faithful guardian of the community, who looks like an overdressed cross between a lion and a Pekinese dog, and the pendulous-breasted Rangda, demonic mistress of the graveyard . At the height of the drama, Barong’s entranced acolytes turn their serpentine-bladed krises upon.

MAS

Mas was frimly staking its claim to become Bali’s preeminent center of modern woodcarving. Long before reaching the village itself, the first shops begin to appear, offering anything from crude massproduced carvings in local soft woods which can be boughtfor less than a dollar, to the works of recognized masters in finegrained ebony, jackfruit, or sandalwood.