BALINESE CULTURE & CEREMONY
Bali owns immeasurable culture where
every day we can find the Hindu ritual in the island, which is famous
known as an Island of the god. One of important ceremony in Hindu
rituals is Melasti or purification the Pratima (god symbol) and other
Hindu Religion symbol at the beach. This Melasti Ceremony is conducted
once a year in conjunction with the big Hindu Holiday called Nyepi Day/
silent day. The Melasti event is generally done three-day before Nyepi
day or depends to the local custom countryside rule. At the Melasti
celebration, all Hindu people in Indonesia especially in Bali troop to
carry the holy symbol of Hindu religion to the sea to be cleaned and
looked at the alongside road the parade of Umbul-umbul symbol and
others. It is also accompanied by the gamelan traditional enliven this
Dance and drama have played an important
role in Balinese society. Through this medium, people learned about the
tales of the ‘Ramayana’, ‘Mahabharata’ and other epic stories of
Balinese history In Bali, traditional mucis is performed by ‘gamelan
orchestra’ with its typically piercing and shimmering sounds. This
percussion ensemble consists of bronze instruments with tuned metal
keys, led by drums. There are a few wind and stringed instruments. The
music is based on rhythmic and melodic cycles punctuated by gongs. Most
villages in Bali own at least one set of ‘gamelan instruments for ritual
occasions. Some sets are considered sacred and are played only during
religious ceremonies. The following are brief descriptions of some of
the more well-known dance/dramas that can be seen at regular
Galungan – Welcoming the Spirits Home to Bali
Victory of Good
the most important feast for Balinese Hindus, a celebration to
honor the creator of the universe and the spirits of the honored
The festival symbolizes the victory of
good (Dharma) over evil (Adharma), and encourages the
Balinese to show their gratitude to the creator and sainted ancestors.
occurs once in the 210-day cycle of the Balinese calendar, and marks the
time of the year when the spirits of the ancestors are believed to visit
Balinese Hindus perform rituals that are meant to welcome and entertain
these returning spirits.
The house compounds that make up the
nucleus of Balinese society come alive with devotions offered by the
families living within. Families offer bountiful sacrifices of food and
flowers to the ancestral spirits, expressing gratitude and hopes for
protection. These sacrifices are also offered at local temples, which
are packed with devotees bringing their offerings.
The whole island sprouts tall bamboo
poles called “penjor” , usually decorated with fruit, coconut leaves,
flowers, and set up on the right of every residence entrance.
At each gate, you’ll also find small bamboo altars set up especially for
the holiday, each one bearing woven palm-leaf offerings for the spirits.
Bali Hindu Temple Ceremony is executed
every 210 days
Balinese calendar. The day of temple festival is
based on many factors inclusive of the environmental, local
custom and condition. Beside of that the calculation day based on
Balinese calendar is very important to perform the temple festival.
BALINESE WEDDING CEREMONY
Balinese Wedding Ceremony
is a unique wedding procession based on Balinese Hindu rituals. As usual
wedding ceremony, Balinese Wedding ceremony is unforgettable momentum
human being where the procession is followed by Hindu rituals,
custom regulation and the perfect day based on Balinese Hindu Calendar
. A marriage couple will use the beautiful uniforms which are all
adapted from the local during the procession. In this site, you can see
a selected photo of Balinese Wedding Ceremony
THREE MONTH BABY’S
Three Months Baby's Ceremony is one of the Balinese Hindu rituals to celebrate the age of baby with
the purpose of to recognize the world for the young baby.
Before the age
of three months, the baby is still believed own the clean soul, holy and
not yet recognized the world and with this ceremony is known to the
world. This ceremony is a part of Human Ceremonies which is the
procession is according to the local resident believed. In this site, we
present a picture of Three Months Baby’s Ceremony which is executed in
one of countryside in Bali.
NGABEN ( CREMATION CEREMONY )
Ngaben or the Cremation Ceremony is the
ritual performed to send the dead through the transition to his next
life. The village Kul Kul, hanging in the tower of the village temple,
will sound a certain beat to announce the departure of the deceased. The
body of the deceased will be placed at Bale Dangin, as if he were
sleeping, and the family will continue to treat him as if he were still
alive yet sleeping. No tears are shed, for he is only gone temporarily
and he will reincarnate into the family. The Priest consults the Dewasa
to determine the proper day for the ceremony. On the day of the
ceremony, the body of the deceased is placed inside a coffin which is
then placed inside a sarcophagus in the form of a buffalo (called Lembu)
or a temple structure called Wadah made of paper and light wood. The
Wadah will be carried to the village cremation site in a procession. The
climax of Ngaben is the burning of the Wadah, using fire originating
from a holy source. The deceased is sent to his afterlife, to be
reincarnated in the future.
The Barong Dance
are several versions of the Barong Dance, as Bali has an abundance of
myths and legends. There is Barong Ket, Barong Asu (Dog Barong), Barong
Macan (Tiger Barong), Barong Bangkal (Pig Barong), Barong Gajah
(Elephant Barong) and others. One of the well known stories on which the
Barong Dance is based, is the Kunti Seraya. The plot is very intriguing,
showing the effect of the Gods intervention upon the people through
It is told that Dewi Kunti, from the royal
family of Hastinapura, was
very ill. As a devotee of the Goddess Durga, she seeks help, however,
the Goddess tells her that the price of health is her own son, Sahadewa.
It seems that the Goddess fancied Sahadewa's young and luscious flesh
for her dinner.
The Sanghyang Jaran Dance
unique feature of the Sanghyang Jaran dance is the courage of the
dancers who in a state of Kesurupan or trance, calmly step and
trample on red hot coals just as if they were walking in cold water.
This dance is believed to have the power to invite the gods or sacred
spirits to enter the body of the dancers and put them in a state of
trance. It dates back to the ancient Pre-Hindu culture, a time when the
Balinese people strongly believed that a dance could eliminate sickness
and disease. The is dance is usually performed in the fifth or sixth
month of the Balinese traditional calendar as it is believe that during
these particular months, the Balinese are vulnerable to all kinds of
The Most famous of the Balinese dances,
originated from the sanghyang dance chours, holds its uniquesness in the
entrancing :kecak, kecak,kecak’ chant. The Kecak as dances developed in
the 1930s , in the village of Bona where it is still performed
This dance tells a story of princess Rangkesari being held captive by
King Laksmi. Rangkesari “ s brothers , prince Daha, gathers an army to
rescue his sister. The legong is very classical and graceful dance ,
always performed y prepubescent girls, who can be as young as eight or
nine years old.
WAYANG KULIT (SHADOW PUPPET )
Wayang Kulit is one of the great story
telling traditions of the Javanese and Balinese people . The wayang show
usually consists of a small four piece orchestra , which provides the
musical accompaniment, around sixty “ puppets” , covered out of flat
piece s of flat piece of water buffalo hide , and the dalang or puppet
–master. The good characters speaks in ancients “ kawi “ , whereas the
evil or ones speak Balinese.
The humanity of a society is not just
measured by how people treat their friends but how they care for their
enemies. But what happens when the lines distinguishing friends from
enemies are blurred by cultural dictates? Are bonds of kinship strong
enough when tested? These questions are posited in a ritual called perang pandan of the Bali Aga people in Tenganan where males of age
of reason, from children as young as seven to men as old as seventy,
engage in a bloody duel, every year.
The preparations for
The preparations for Galungan begin
several days before the actual feast day. Three days before Galungan –
“Penyekeban” – families begin their preparations for Galungan.
“Penyekeban” literally means “the day to cover up “, as this is the day
when green bananas are covered up in huge clay pots to speed their
Two days before Galungan
– “Penyajahan” – marks a time of introspection for Balinese, and more
prosaically, a time to make the Balinese cakes known as jaja. These
colored cakes made of fried rice dough are used in offerings and are
also eaten specially on Galungan. This time of the year finds a glut of
jaja in every village market.
A day before Galungan
– “Penampahan”, or slaughter day – Balinese slaughter the sacrificial
animals that will go into the temple or altar offerings. Galungan is
marked by the sudden surplus of traditional Balinese food, like lawar (a
spicy pork and coconut sauce dish) and satay.
The day after Galungan
The day after Galungan, Balinese visit
their kinfolk and closest friends.
The tenth day after Galungan – “Kuningan” – marks the end of Galungan,
and is believed to be the day when the spirits ascend back to heaven. On
this day, Balinese make special offerings of yellow rice.
a ceremony known as Ngelawang is performed in the villages. Ngelawang is
an exorcism ceremony performed by a “barong” – a divine protector in the
form of a mythical beast.
The barong is invited into houses as he
makes his way through the village. His presence is meant to restore the
balance of good and evil in a house. The residents of the house will
pray before the dancing barong, who will afterwards give a piece of his
fur as a keepsake.
After the barong pays a visit, it is
important to make an offering of a canang sari containing money. While
the actual festivities are open to Balinese only, tourists who visit
Bali during this holiday get an eyeful of the local color.
It isn’t every day you see richly-dressed
women crossing the street to make food offerings to the local temple –
and there’s something festive about the penjor swaying in the wind
everywhere you look!
During Galungan, some local restaurants
ride the rising demand for Balinese food by offering specials on all
sorts of native dishes. This is a great time to try Balinese food for
the first time!
On the downside, many places will be
closed for Galungan, as their devout Balinese employees will likely be
going to their respective villages to celebrate. As the Balinese
calendar follows a 210-day cycle, Galungan happens twice a year
roughly every six months.
Nyepi Day in Bali Island
Determined by the Lunar (Saka) calendar
that occurs somewhere between mid-March & mid-April each year,
Nyepi day is perhaps the most unique of all
festivals celebrated in Bali.
as the whole island comes to a standstill
on this particular day.
Visitors to Bali at this time of the year definitely need to be aware of
the day of Nyepi, as they will not be able to go anywhere on this day.
The most interesting part of before
The most interesting part of before
Nyepi for visitors is of experiencing ‘Ogoh-ogoh’ (monsters) parade
created by many of the villages throughout Bali as a part of an
island-wide exorcism on the eve of Nyepi or Penrupukan.
Pengrupukan held one day before Nyepi. Celebrated by Balinese Hindu in
order to send away the evil spirit so as not to interfere mankind.
is considered a symbol of the malicious characters of living beings
usually made by the village’s artists.
The rituals, the exorcism of the island starts at dusk, firstly within
the house compound where special offerings accompanied by fire & holy
water are delivered to every corner of the compound,
Once the exorcism has been accomplished
within the compound, people then move out onto the streets.
After being paraded, accompanied by loud banging & clanging and as much
noise as the vocal chords can handle on a convoy around the villages and
finally it is burnt to ashes in a cemetery as a symbol of
The youth of the various village banjar
(local council) take great delight in competing with the neighboring
villages to create the most gruesome and terrifying-looking in the month
Different Ogoh-ogoh of shapes & sizes were presented in this parade.
An Ogoh-ogoh is normally standing on a pad built of timber planks and
bamboos during its being lifted and carried around the village or the
There are normally eight or more men carrying the Ogoh-ogoh on their
shoulders. This procession is accompanied by music orchestra performed
by the youth.
The use of flares is also a main part of the parade.
During the procession, the Ogoh-ogoh is
rotated counter clockwise three times. This act is done on every
t-junction and roadcross of the village.
The Ogoh-ogoh lurched crazily through the crowd. Officials guiding them
along their path, careful to make sure that no two Ogoh-ogoh made any
of physical contact during this time, as with the Balinese spirits
running high this might lead to friction between the groups.
After Pengrupukan, on the day of Nyepi
(literally meaning ‘silence’) the whole of Bali lies still.
There is no one out on the streets, nothing opens in the way of shops or
offices, the sound of traffic is nonexistent.
This Day of Silence is when the world has been cleansed & everything
With the religious prohibitions of ‘amati lelanguan‘ (no
pleasure); ‘amati lelungan‘ (no traffic); ‘amati geni‘
(no fire) and ‘amati pekaryan‘ (no work)
Starts even before sunrise & continuing for the next 24 hours, all you
will hear is the occasional barking dogs or the shrill of insects.
You will not be allowed to go anywhere on this day, but rather relax at
your place of accommodation, enjoying the peace & quiet of an otherwise
The most interesting part of before
Nyepi for visitors
(Teeth filing ceremony)
Throughout the months of July and August
it is common to find tooth-filing ceremonies throughout Bali. In the
Balinese belief system, the ceremony helps people rid themselves of the
invisible forces of evil - teeth are the symbol of lust, greed, anger,
insobriety, confusion and jealousy. Filing the teeth therefore renders
someone both more physically and more spiritually beautiful, as well as
symbolizing the rite of passage for an adolescent into adulthood.
Whenever possible, the filer is a member of the highest caste, the
Brahmin (priest). They are known as Sangging, and use simple tools to
conduct their work - a file, a small hammer, and a carver. These are
purified with holy water prior to the ceremony by a lay priest. Items
provided by the family include a mirror, a piece of sugar cane, and some
young coconut. The person having their teeth filed must remain in
isolation indoors for the whole day prior to the ceremony, in order to
remain protected from the negative influences of magic - while they are
still considered "immature', prior to the ceremony, they are
particularly vulnerable to the influence of evil spirits.
Artifacts found in the Buleleng regency have resealed that the Balinese
have been holding the tooth filing ceremony for over 2000 years, hence
it was not originally a Hindu ceremony. However, amidst the influx of
other influences on the island, the tradition has remained, now having
been absorbed into the predominantly Hindu belief system prevalent on
the island. The principal of karma phala demonstrates how the Balinese
always link present events with the past: karma means "action" or
"attitude" and Phala means "effect".
Ceremonies are usually held between 4.00 am to 6.00 am, before the sun
rises, and are accompanied by religious songs. After the tooth filing
ceremony, the teenager is considered to be a mature adult. In recent
years, families have taken to holding their children's ceremonies in a
group in order to economies.
If you are fortunate enough to be in Bali during the months of July and
August, ask around and find out when and where you can catch a
tooth-filing. It is one of Bali's most idiosyncratic ceremonies - one
that you are unlikely to find elsewhere in the world.
The ceremony begins with the 'pedanda' sprinkling holy water and
blessing the group with mantras. Offerings are placed before the gods of
sexual love. The initiates lie down on the richly draped bamboo platform
wide-eyed and frightened, clutching their pillows as close relatives
ring around. Incense is lit, mouthwash placed at the ready, files and
whetstones blessed to cleanse them and render the operation painless.
Magic symbols (aksara) are inscribed on the teeth.
The "dentist" (sangging) first places a small cylinder of sugarcane in
the corners of the mouth to prop the jaws open and prevent gagging. The
front two upper canines are filed so they're even with the upper
incisors; it's important to effect an even line of short teeth. The
actual filing requires about five to 10 minutes. A mirror is provided to
allow the patient to observe the progress of the ritual. Filings are
spit into a yellow coconut. Tears may roll down their cheeks, but the
files seldom cry out.
Makepung is an annual event which is held
in Bali, Indonesia. “Makepung” is a Balinese language which can be
translated as ‘chasing one-another’.
Makepung game was first held in 1970′s
and until now has had some changes in rules and the property. In origin,
Makepung was played by the farmers during their resting farming in rice
The buffalo used in this game was
stringed in a carriage. But today Makepung uses a pair of buffalos and a
smaller size of carriage. The buffalos for this game are made-up in a
more colorful and more stylish head-accessories and made like crown.
Green flags are put in each side of the carriage.
Compared to other kinds of racing games,
Makepung has a very unique rule. If in other race events the winner(s)
is based on the first contestant got into the finish line, Makepung
determines the winner from any contestant who is able to keep distance
in a minimum 10m far from the contestant behind him.
If the contestant in the front can’t keep
the distance more than 10m, then the second contestant is the one who
wins the race. One race in Makepung takes place in 8-10 minutes
Makepung in Bali is divided into two
blocks which separate Jembrana territory. Each blocks in Bali Makepung
has their own circuit of practicing. The territory is based on the
course of Sungai Ijo Gading (Green Ivory River) of Jembrana. In every
two weeks, a un official race is held before they finally meet in the
official race and the big event is begun as a part of Balinese cultures.
BALINESE DANCES & SCHEDULE ENTERTAIMENT
Dance and drama
have played an important role in Balinese society. Through this medium,
people learned about the tales of the ‘Ramayana’, ‘Mahabharata’ and
other epic stories of Balinese history In Bali, traditional music is
performed by ‘gamelan orchestra’ with its typically piercing and
shimmering sounds. This percussion ensemble consists of bronze
instruments with tuned metal keys, led by drums. There are a few wind
and stringed instruments. The music is based on rhythmic and melodic
cycles punctuated by gongs. Most villages in Bali own at least one set
of ‘gamelan instruments for ritual occasions. Some sets are considered
sacred and are played only during religious ceremonies. The following
are brief descriptions of some of the more well-known dance/dramas that
can be seen at regular performances throughout Bali.
story of the Ramayana greatly inspires the Balinese. Many of their
dances are based on this great story which is often depicted in a
The Balinese version
differs from the Indian Version. It is told that Rama, as the first son
in a family, was the heir to the Ayodya kingdom but the king's second
wife, through her treachery forced the king to crown her own son as the
King of Ayodya and asked him to send Rama and his wife into exile.
Because he respected his father, Rama went with his wife called Sita and
his beloved younger brother, Laksmana into a forest called Dandaka.
Usually the first act of the ballet depicts Rama and entourage in the
heart of the Dandaka forest.
Rahwana, the evil King of Alengka, enchanted by the beauty of Sita,
wanted to have her as his concubine. He sent one of his knights, Marica,
to temp Sita by transforming himself into a golden deer. Sita,
captivated by her curiosity, asked her husband to catch the golden deer.
The next act explains how Rama succeeds in hunting the golden deer but
as his arrow struck the golden deer it transformed back into Marica.
Meanwhile Sita heard a distant cry for help. Laksmana, who had been
asked by his brother to look after his sister-in-law, tried to explain
to her that the cry sounds very suspicious. But nevertheless, Sita was
convinced that someone was in need of help. So she sent Laksmana to look
for this person and to help whoever it is. In his desperate attempt,
Laksmana asked Sita, no matter what would happen, to stay inside the
guarding circle that he created.
Rahwana, knowing that Sita was protected by the circle transforms
himself into an old priest. He approaches Sita and asks her for a drink.
Sita, without hesitation, extends her hands beyond the circle to hand
him the water. Rahwana takes the advantage, snatches her hand and takes
her to his palace in Alengka.
On the way, Rahwana encounters a mighty eagle Jatayu. By every means
possible, Jatayu tries to rescue Sita from the evil king but fails and
is killed by Rahwana.
Rama and Laksmana find the dying Jatayu who tells them the whole story
of what had happened to Sita.
In his attempt to release his wife, Rama seeks the help from Hanoman and
his monkey soldiers. Hanoman finds Sita in the palace's garden. She had
been asked by Rahwana to marry him but she would rather die. Hanoman
convinces Sita that he is Rama's messenger and talks of a plan.
Rahwana catches Hanoman and burns his tail but in so doing, set fire to
the palace's' gardens. The pyrotechnics can be very impressive.
In the last act, Rama and his troops are depicted attacking Rakhwana's
palace. Finally Rama manages to kill Rahwana and therefore takes his
wife back to his country.
The abridged version ends here but if you see paintings in Kamasan style
based on the Ramayana story, you would notice that in the last of
serialised paintings, Sita had to prove she was still pure, and had not
been tainted by Rahwana, by plunging herself into a fire. Because of her
faith in her husband, God saved her from the fire and she lived happily
ever after with Rama.
The Indian version reveals a very different ending with Sita saved by
Mother Earth, never returning to her husband.
The Welcome Dance - Tari Panyembrama
Panyembrama is probably the most popular Balinese social dance. In
keeping with its meaning in the Balinese Language, Panymebrama is
frequently staged to welcome guests of honour who are making a visit to
this islands of the Gods.
Four or eight young
girls bearing a bokor, a heavily engraved bowl made from silver
or aluminium, laden with flowers, dance expressively to the
accompaniment of vibrant gamelan music.
During the dance, the flowers are scattered over the guest or audience
as an expression of welcome. The Panymebrama has taken many of its
movements from temple dances, such as the Rejang Dance, Pendet and Gabor,
which are considered sacred and performed exclusively for God. There is
an analogy between the secular Panymebrama and the religious temple
dances, as all these dances are welcoming dances, the difference being
in the place in which they are stage.
The Tari Panymebrama comes under the Balinese classification of
Legong (individual dances), because it has no connection with other
dances, has no story and was specifically created for welcoming and
The hospitality and friendliness conveyed through the smiles of the
Panymebrama girls, charms the audience and so is very fitting as an
opening for a show, etc.
EVENTS DANCE & DRAMA
||1st & 15th of
||Sun , Wed
||Teges – Ubud
|Sanghyang Jaran Dance
||Arma open stage
|Wayang kulit (shadow
Note : The above schedule could be change prior any notice