The Culture of Bali besides the tropical beauty of the smaller of the Indonesian islands, is undoubtedly what has continued to attract tourists to visit the island and has formed a thriving tourism industry. The Balinese are mainly a Hindu people although they follow a unique from of Balinese Hinduism that includes many spirits and gods that must constantly be appeased. The Balinese make daily offering to the gods outside their houses and places of work as well as in the shrines that are located high up in every building and in the temples. Even in the modern day there is no rush or corner cutting in Balinese rituals, offerings are generally small delicately woven trays made from banana leafs with spices flowers and incense often with a small amount of rice a coin or even a cigarette. These can found outside in high quantities although they obviously biodegrade. It is respectful to look out for these when walking round and avoid standing on them when possible but it is likely you will kick one accidentally at some point but do not worry as on offence is taken and it is an inevitable outcome that is expected. As far as the Balinese are concerned, when the offering is blessed it is the god’s in essence and the physical symbol is then irrelevant.
The Balinese visit 7 mother temples located around the island that must be undertaken by every Hindu in a certain week for each temple otherwise each family will have their own temple. Balinese ceremonies are not a rare sight to see as there are so many occasions not only on the calendar but also specific to the large extended families. There is a ceremony for marriage, for birth, for the 3 months after birth when the baby’s feet are allowed to touch the ground, after 6 months, wedding, deaths and any significant increase in business or after any even of any kind of significance to the family’s lives. The most interesting event on the Balinese calendar is the day of Nyepi which is effectively Balinese new years day when there is large party where people run down the streets with giant monster figures and make a hell of a racket in order to encourage the spirits to come down to the island, then the next day everyone shuts up their houses and no one is allowed out there house while the spirits walk the streets looking for signs of life. All windows must be boarded up and everyone is quiet. The spirits find nothing and decide not to bother checking the island again until next year and everyone comes back out to celebrate the New Year, an excellent time to be in Bali.
The Balinese culture is best witnessed in Ubud or in the water temple at Uluwatu, here you can see the performances and rituals that are powerful dark and compelling and highly interesting. The peaceful people of Bali really have an amazing culture that is incomparable to anywhere else in the world.