Monday, April 9, 2012

Bali: Ceremonies Without End.

    Bali is an intensely spiritual island. Daily life, spirit life and the life of the gods are all so interwoven that it's really hard, if not impossible, to separate one strand from another.
    Offerings are made daily--everywhere--to the spirit world. They give thanks to the gods and help people stay on the right side of the demons.
    Every single morning, someone from our homestay would come along with small works of art to place in front of our rooms.

    At the main market, women sold vividly-coloured flower petals, and the small trays woven from palm leaves that hold the offerings.

    The spirits swoop down immediately to accept them. After that, they're considered rubbish. Stray dogs and chickens come along and eat the edible parts. It still took me a while to get used to accidentally treading on one of these small works of art and not wanting to apologise to someone.
     I just want to emphasize that these offerings were made every single day...everywhere--and, at special times, in places you wouldn't even think of.

   We were lucky enough to be in Bali for Galungan, the 10-day holiday that happens every 210 days when all the gods come down to earth.
    For days and days before, men were busy constructing and decorating the penjor, the immensely tall bamboo poles that eventually stand outside the entrances to the family compounds.
 Each of these bamboo fronds is attached by hand. Ripe stalks of rice hang below.

 This gives you some idea of the size of the penjor.
 It's a magnificent sight when they're all stood upright,
 Other decorations and offerings are placed at the family temple.
Carefully cut and shaped from green banana leaves, this pattern is attached to its base with tiny slivers of bamboo.

1 comment:

irene said...


i stumbled upon your blog while looking for some french places because i just got back from france and its a amazing place! i was staying in Chalabre for 2 weeks with my freind who is from there.. and i was wondering why your blog is in english! i enjoy reading your blog. brings back memories from france especially the places around mirepox limoux and chalabre..and some other villages which i forgot their name. just so u know i like your blog. =)