Bali, the island of Gods is the most famous Indonesian and #1 top traveler destination. Bali is part of the Lesser Sunda Islands, its capital city is Denpasar. The climate is tropical like other regions of Indonesia. Geographically, Bali province is bordered by East Java Province and Bali Strait in the West, Bali Sea in the North, Indian Ocean in the South, and Lombok Strait in the East.
Tourist attraction in Bali besides Kuta (well known amongs the surfers) are:
- Ubud as the center of art located in Gianyar regency on the highlands. Tourist can enjoy landscapes, beautiful Balinese rice terrace in Tegalalang, the Goa Gajah (elephant cave) and the famous monkey forest.
- Sanur and Nusa Dua South for the breathtaking cliffs in South East coast renowned for the tranquility of its calm beaches.
- Seminyak South West for the parties and boutiques.
- Canggu, the new hype place near Seminyak is famous for “healthy” tourist destination and new surf spots. I mean it “healthy” because you will find a lot of Yoga places and café with vegetarian and vegan food.
These are some places that became a tourist destination, either beach tourism or just a place for the tourists to rest. Nowadays Seminyak and Canggu are growing and aim to become #1 tourist destination in Bali. Because it has what the modern tourist want when they decide to visit Bali. The local culture, tranquility, luxury, “healthy” destination, boutiques, surf and even party spots can be find easily in Seminyak and Canggu area. That is why Seminyak and Canggu became the best spot for business and investment.
Religion and Believes
Most of the population in Bali adheres to the religion of Hindu, approximately 95% of the total population in Bali. While 5% of them embraced in Islam, Christian, Catholic and Confucianism. Hindu teaches the purpose of life. It’s to achieve balance and peace in life, birth and mind. Hindus believe in the existence of one God in the form of the concept Trimurti, the form of Brahmin (the creator), the form of Vishnu (the patron and preserver) and the form of Shiva (the destroyer).
The place to worship God of the Hindu in Bali called Pura. All the Balinese Hindu people have Puras in their homes and in various forms depending on the economic conditions of society. While the place for ancestor worshiping are called Sangga. The Hindu scriptures (the holy book) of Hinduism is the Veda from Indian origin.
According to the belief of the Hindu Bali, after death the corpse should be freed from its bond with the world. Ngaben is a funeral ceremony that has been very common in Bali. This is a ritual performed to send the soul to the next life. In this ceremony, the corpse is placed in a position like a sleeping person. The family of the dead body will assume that the deceased person is asleep. In this ceremony, there is no tears because they assume that the corpse just does not exist for a while and undergoes reincarnation or will find the final resting in Moksha that is a state where the soul has been free from reincarnation and wheel of death. Ngaben ceremony is also a symbol to purify the spirit of the deceased.
Hindu Bali religious festivities are Nyepi which its implementation on the celebration of the saka new year on the 1st of the month 10 (kedasa), feast Galungan, Kuningan, Saras Wati, Tumpek Landep, Tumpek Uduh, and Shiva Ratri.
Most of the tourists both domestic and foreign tourists visit Bali to see or even engage in religious ceremonies or Hindu festivals in Bali.
The family lineage in Balinese society is leading to patrilineal. A caste system greatly influences in the process of marriage. A woman with higher caste is not allowed to marry a man with lower caste, because there will be an aberration and will make embarrassment in the family and drop the prestige of the entire caste.
Nowadays we found many cases like this from the more open minded families. When the family is not open minded enough to accept this, they will abandon the daughter and cut relationship with her.
There is a unity of Balinese community life which includes 2 senses of Villages, namely: Desa Adat (traditional ruling) and Desa Dinas (administrative government). Both are a unity of territory. But Desa Adat is more relate to religious or traditional matter, While Desa Dinas is an administrative unit of the Government. The activities of Desa Adat are concentrated in the areas of traditional and religious ceremonies, while the Desa Dinas are concentrated in the areas of administration, government and development.
Adat (traditional rules) for those who settle in Bali after marriage affects the association of kinship in a society. There are two kinds of traditional rules that often apply in Bali: Adat Virilocal is a custom that justify the newlyweds’ couple to settle around the residence of the husband’s relatives, and Adat neolokal is the custom that determines the newlyweds’ couple to settle in the new residence area. The Bali residents have a harmonious society called The Banjar. Each has a Banjar chief with the title of Kelihan. The banjar Kelihan duties is to served all affairs in the field of social and religious life, but sometimes the banjar Kelihan must also solve problems like the customary law of the land, and government administration matters.
Most Balinese people speak Balinese language and Indonesian language. Most Balinese are bilingual or trilingual. English as the third language as well as other foreign language is crucial for Balinese people this is an effect by tourism industry.
The Balinese language divided in two kinds: Aga language is the Balinese language with more abusive pronunciation that is usually used by the Sudra caste. The language of Bali Mojopahit is a language that is more subtle and soft pronunciation used by the Brahmans, the Ksatrians and the Waisya caste.
From the historical point of view the Balinese language recognizes three periods:
1. Balinese Ancient Language is the language of Bali used by the kings in ancient Bali as found the inscriptions of ancient Balinese inscriptions both lontar containing letters and ancient Javanese language.
2. Balinese Tengahan Language, which is the Balinese language used to write literary works, such as hymns, chronicles, wariga, usada, usana and others
3. Balinese Kepara or Balinese Usual language is a common Balinese language that is still alive and the language that is still used by the Balinese people as a daily communication tool in the Bali area, if seen in its use has a level system which in that language is called “Sor Singgih Basa Bali “.
Bali could not be separated with the various arts in it. Even, some of the Balinese people livelihood in the field of art, such as sculpture, painting, music, traditional drama and dance art. The art of dance culture in Bali is generally divided into three categories, such as Wali dance, a dance performance that only performed in sacred events. Bebali dance a dance performance that usually performed in ceremony and also often shown to welcome visitors. The balih- Balihan dance or dance art that is only for entertainment show. Some of the famous dance performances for tourists are Kecak dan Barong Dance.
The traditional Balinese music actually has similarities with traditional music in other parts of Indonesia. But there are some unique characteristics in the technique of playing and the compositions as in the form of kecak. Some of the traditional musical instruments in Bali are, Gamelan, Jegog, and Genggong.
Traditional Balinese Cuisine
Oh, I like to talk about this particular subject. 🙂
There are so many traditional Balinese food and typical Indonesian food, the Balinese food also using variety of spices, blended with fresh vegetables and meat or fish to cook it. The Balinese food demonstrates indigenous traditions, as well as influences from other Indonesian regional cuisine, Chinese and Indian.
For spices, Balinese cuisine use a lot of Spices include Kaempferia galanga (galangal), shallots, garlic, turmeric, ginger, lemongrass and Kaffir lime . Balinese 8-spice is made with white and black pepper, coriander, cumin, clove, nutmeg, sesame seeds, and candlenut. Palm sugar, fish paste, and basa gede. Basa gede or basa rajang, is a Balinese spice paste. Basic ingredient used in many Balinese dishes. Basa gede ingredients include garlic, red chili peppers, shallots, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric, palm sugar, cumin, shrimp paste and salam leaves (Indonesian bay leaf).
Some of the famous traditional Balinese cuisines are:
- Babi Guling (suckling pig) is a Balinese style spice-rubbed and spit-roasted pig stuffed with chili, turmeric, garlic, and ginger.
- Bebek or Ayam betutu (Betutu duck or chicken) is a slow cooked duck stuffed with spices, wrapped in banana leaves and coconut husks , cooked in a pit of embers.
- Lawar is a finely chopped combination of various ingredients (green beans, green papaya, shallots, pork meat, pork skin, pig blood, eggs and chopped coconut) and served on top of banana leaves. Lawar dishes tend to appear at ceremonies and celebrations.
- Sate lilit is a Balinese sate style made from minced or ground meat (chicken or fish) mix with minced spices and pressed onto skewers which are often lemon grass sticks and then grilled.
- Sambal matah, is a popular condiment made of finely chopped fresh chili, shallots, lemon grass, ginger, mixed with lime juice.
Balinese Traditional House
Traditional Balinese house is an application of the philosophy and believes in Balinese society itself. There are three aspects that must be applied in it. Which are aspect Pawongan (man as a householder), aspect Pelemahan (location or environment) and aspect Parahyangan (afterlife). The Balinese believe that the dynamism in life can be achieved if there is a realization of the harmonious relationship between these three aspects. Therefore, the construction of the traditional Balinese house should include those aspects known as Tri Hita Karana.
In general, the traditional Balinese architecture is always filled with carvings and natural colors. Besides as a decoration they also interpret this as an expression of gratitude to the creator, as well as ritual symbols and statues. Generally in the Balinese Traditional house, the rooms are separated into many small buildings in one area united by the fence surrounding.
Bali has a characteristic architecture that arises from traditions, spiritual beliefs and spiritual activities of the Balinese community itself. It’s manifested in various physical forms of existing buildings such as houses, Pura, Banjar,etc.