BALI – CULTURE AND RELIGION
Bali is the only island in the ‘Emerald Belt’ where Islam has hardly penetrated. The Hindu culture, modified to the Balinese circumstances, dominates the island; 90% of Balinese are Hindu. You will
see the Hindu culture everywhere, expressed in the many temples and the unique processions.
Bali is also called the ‘Island of the Gods’. Religion on Bali is entwined with daily life. This shows, among other things, in the famous Balinese dances and the ceremonies. In general the population is very friendly towards tourists, giving you the opportunity to experience the local and religious traditions from up close.
Your villa is also inaugurated according to Balinese customs. In the garden of the villa you will find a temple where offerings from the staff take place every day. Offerings consist of incense, bread, rice and flowers. These offerings take place to please the gods and to keep evil spirits at bay. You’ll not only find these rituals at your villa but basically everywhere, especially at entrances to buildings and stairs, so watch your step! Many buildings have stone guards at the entrance often with typical Balinese cloths swathed around them.
Every village has at least three temples. There are small temples at crossings, hill tops, mountains and sawas. Of course every house has its own temple(s) as well. Bali Hinduism has also given its unique atmosphere; guests may also view beautiful temples and colorful processions.
The typical Balinese culture has different values and customs from the ones we are used to in our Western society. When you visit a temple, you have to wear a sarong and a slendang (sash) around the waist. You can often rent these at the entrance to a temple. For non-Hindu’s it’s forbidden to enter the inner sanctuary of a temple. Women are considered unclean during their period and are therefore not allowed to visit temples. When visiting a temple a small contribution is normally made. The money will be used for maintenance. It’s advisable to ask for permission when taking pictures of people in religious places or of people performing a ceremony. Taking pictures of military buildings is strictly forbidden.