Bali Information - In Balinese paintings, trees become the secret a boded of fantastic bird and monkeys, the night and invitation for mischievous spirit, and the temple ceremony a panorama of offering, sales stands stylish dress, mystical figures of the theater, fighting cocks, lovers rendezvous and family worship. The Balinese world is one of sharing. The joys of every day life merge with social duties and religious obligations, I the same way that one’s personal fears are projected onto the mysteries of nature. The arts reflect an unconscious integration of environment, religion and community of which every individual is a part.
This feeling of continuity is the cornerstone of the local society. Every form of work of creativity is given group expression. The organization of villages, the cultivation of farm land, and even the creative arts are a communal effort. Within his village, a man belongs to his family, his clan, his caste, his community, and to the total of the Balinese people who share in his heritage and surroundings. Religion is as essential as his livelihood. Every new accession, whether is be the firs birthday of child or the completion of house, receives the priest’s blessing. Every personal calamity is treated as a shared problem a among family, friends and divine guardians. Only in rare moment throughout his live would a Balinese feel oppressive solitude. Nor is death a separation, but a journey of the soul to resting place in heaven where “life as just in Bali, but devoid of all the trouble and illness,” until it is reborn on earth, possibly in the person of a great grandchild.
After creating the world and mountains trees, fruits and flowers, the deities made four human beings whom they provided with tool of work and house to live in. the divine Shiwa then made four women as wives for the four men. The god of love, Semara, made mating a pleasure so that the women could be fertilized, and eventually, the four couples had many children. (From the ancient Catur Yoga)
A child born in Bali awakens to a wondrous world of expectation. His father has Hong centered his hove on having children, preferably a male child who will care him in his old age and, after his death, perform the necessary rites to liberate his soul for reincarnation. A new born baby is believed to have just emerged into this life from a spiritual realm and is respected as holy the impure earth and is carried every where, often riding on the hip of an older sister. Ceremonies are held for him at prescribed intervals, culminating in his first Balinese birthday at 210 day. Offerings are made by the priest and he is allowed to touch the ground for the first time.
As soon as he can walk, the child is set free wander all over the village with other children his age, some times going on excursions that last all day. In this society of his own, he grows to be self reliant at a very early age. At home he is treated cordially, taken by his parents wherever the go, and coaxed into obedience as an equal. He is never beaten, for were one to strike a child, it my harm his tender spirit. This manner of raising children with independence and respect accounts for the exceptional maturity and sense of responsibility in Balinese children. In the most crowded villager festivals, seldom do you hear a child cry or see him fight with other children.
During adolescence a child becomes from initiated into the adult community. When a young girl of a high caste family reaches the age of puberty, a ceremony is healed to announce her status as mature women. First she goes into strict seclusion and thoroughly cleanses her body. After thee days she emerges in gold brocades and a crown of flowers to receive a purification blessing from the priest. Frequently, a tooth-filing ceremony follows, also a custom of initiation for both boys and girls. By having a specialist, usually a Priest, file a small portion of the upper teeth to from a straight line, one diminishes the six evil qualities of human nature: desire, greed, anger, intoxication, irresoluteness, and jealousy. With this ceremony completed, a Balinese looks forward to a life less prone to human frailty and error. Straight teeth make for prettier smiles, too. Ferocious snarls. With long canine’s sweiving from the mouth, are reserved for the ghastly grimaces of witches and demons.
MARRIAGE is the final initiation into the community; only a settled married man can become a member of the village association. The Balinese marry at an early age; the average age for a girl is eighteen to twenty and or a boy between twenty and twenty-five. A young Balinese feels it is his most important duty to marry and to raise a family to perpetuate his family line. To go unmarried is abnormal. It is said that if a male adult dies a bachelor, in the next life he will feed sows, a women's chore, and if a woman does not bear any children, she will be suckled by a giant, caterpillar.
As with everything in, Bali, marriage customs vary from village to village and caste to caste. The two most popular forms of marriage are the mapadik marriage by request, and ngrorod -marriage by elopement. Mapadik is the respectable form of courtship, in which the boy' family bearing offerings and presents visits the girl's family and openly proposes the marriage. Ngrorod is more exciting and clandestine, for here the honeymoon precedes the wedding, and the man is considered to be more heroic like the romantic lover Prince Arjuna, hero of the Mahabharata epic.
The couple secretly decides to run away, usually to a friend's house a good distance from the girl's village. On the appointed day, the girl is suddenly carried off by her suitor, (Nowadays, it's fashionable to kidnap one's bride in a car.) The girl's family pretends to be worried (and sometimes is). The enraged father is supposed to search the surroundings, asking, everyone in the household who took his, daughter. Of course, even a close friend who may have helped the daughter pack her clothes innocently denies any knowledge of the affair. Sometimes even a search party is organized. Usually an envoy is sent to inform the girl's parents, who generally know the suitor and realize that if their daughter took some clothes, she willingly eloped.
Most Balinese agree-the advantage of s that it is economical. In the formal courtship which precedes a mapadik marriage, the suitor must visit the girl's home several time small gifts and bus fares do mount up. On the first night of elopement, a small religious ceremony is held to make the marriage official by customary law. Offerings are presented to lbu Pertiwi, goddess of the earth, who bears witness to the union. Later the entire village is invited to a formal wedding ceremony when the couple is blessed by the priest, and their union is announced through offerings and prayer to their ancestors and deities of the temple. It is then that the woman formally joins the man's family and becomes member of his caste and clan.
Divorce is not difficult in Bali. A man merely reports to village authorities that his marriage is finished; or, if it is a woman, she simply return to her home and the children are cared for by the man's family. However, divorce does not occur often. If the situation arises, it is more likely that a man takes a second wife, and the first remains as head of the household.
THE COMMUNITY revolves around family and religion. A man raises a family that worships common ancestors in the family shrine of each household. The various families composing a village all worship at the three village temples: Pura Puseh, the temple of origin where the traveler to Bali is still the explorer, discovering untouched places and witnessing exotic rituals which have not diminished with the changing times.
From a world streaming beneath you at jet speed, you suddenly find yourself coasting by shaded roads be speckled with sunlight. Relaxing is effortless. Off comes the tie for a sports shirt and city shoes for sandals. No heavy clothing is necessary to meet the weather, and no greeting formalities but a smile are needed to return a welcome. From your arrival, you are treated with the respect befitting a guest and the surprised delight in seeing someone new.
Bali is filled with nooks and corners, back roads and gateways into the heart of a people. When driving around the island, it is difficult to look straight ahead; there is always something eye-catching along the wayside. Take the road, for instance. It is a sidewalk, highway, playground, meeting place, cargo route and the path of ceremonial processions. Along its sides are countless temples, rustic shrines, gamelan rehearsals, markets and harvests. A turn-off inland may lead to a village of craftsmen who labor at a primitive style of woodcarving, or to royal tombs, half-hidden in the farmlands, that mirror the island's legendary past. Perhaps you stop at a hillside restaurant overlooking the mysterious Elephant Cave, or pause for tea at a local food stand shaded by in enormous banyan tree. Even the most secluded retreats provide cool refreshment, since it doesn't usually take long to find a climber eager to fulfill a personal order of one fresh coconut.
"Night life" in Bali is the question for many driest travelers who have just emerged from Bangkok after dark or Hong Kong's torrent of evening entertainment. Night falls early over e island's country towns and farm villages and among the Balinese 9 p.m. is late at night: however, the evenings of holy days, when temples hold their festivals, promise night long dramas of magic, romance plays and dance rituals-ending with good triumphing over evil in the first gray of dawn. For visitors, a respite on Sanur's coast is a pause from all the rush and traffic noise 'he world's cities. With no garish city light night Skies are magnificent, arid few place bring You closer to Bali's romance than a ca seashore lit by the torches of night fisherman scattered along the beach are seaside hotel and restaurants hosting the island's leading dance troupes for starlight performances. At brosial buffets of Indonesian dishes, gamelan music, and the swaying of graceful dance perfectly combine in special Bali Night dinner that capture the spirit of native festivity.
Many who truly enjoy being in Bali told wonder about a future where tourism will ha, a greater impact upon the island community The concern many visitors have to safeguard the unique arts and ceremonies is a sign respect to the people and a compliment their Culture. But just as Bali, seen and experienced today, is the accomplishment past generations, so the island's future ultimately lies with the Balinese themselves. T wish for unconditional preservation of the culture is to put it behind glass and to … Bali its identity as a key province in a developing nation.
Besides, the Balinese have a knack for mixing modernity with tradition. A fashionable, young man these days hires a car to kidnap his bride-a quicker arid more convenient means than carrying her off on his shoulders as was the old custom. Streets by night it Denpasar are now a jubilee of neon lights, yet on every busy intersection stands a statue of e demon-giant to ward off evil spirits who might cause accidents. Even far out in the country are touches of the modern world. Like a light bulb set on top of a temple shrine in a village without electricity. Why the bulb? The reason is simple, practical and typical: where function falls short, form takes over-in this case, the fine shape of glass serves as a good decoration.
In Bali, make no predictions. Each village has its own customs, each kingdom its own history, and every celebration its own style. Anything can happen and the surprises are always well worth it. You may journey to a distant.
BY : BALI JEGEG
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