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BALINESE CULTURE & CEREMONY

 

MELASTI 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 event.

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 performances throughout Bali..

 

Galungan – Welcoming the Spirits Home to Bali

Victory of Good Over Evil

Galungan Day is the most important feast for Balinese Hindus, a celebration to honor the creator of the universe  and the spirits of the honored ancestors.

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.

Galungan 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 the earth.
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.

     
HINDHU TEMPLE CEREMONY

Bali Hindu Temple Ceremony is executed every 210 days based on Balinese calendar. The day of temple festival is decided 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 for the 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 CEREMONY

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

The 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 supernatural powers.
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

The 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 illnesses.

     

Kecak  Dance

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 regularly.

 

LEGONG DANCE

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.

 

PERANG PANDAN

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 Galungan

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 ripening.

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.

During Galungan, 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

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 Nyepi for visitors

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.

 

Day Before Nyepi

Ogoh-ogoh 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 town
finally it is burnt to ashes in a cemetery as a symbol of self-purification.

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 preceding Nyepi.
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 town’s square.
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 sort
of physical contact during this time, as with the Balinese spirits running high this might lead to friction between the groups.

 

Day After Nyepi

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 starts anew.
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 bustling island.

The most interesting part of before Nyepi for visitors

 

POTONG GIGI (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 ATRACTION

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 field.

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 duration.

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.

 

The Ramayana

The story of the Ramayana greatly inspires the Balinese. Many of their dances are based on this great story which is often depicted in a ballet.

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

The 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 entertainment purposes.

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.

 

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS DANCE & DRAMA

Dances  Venue  Every Time
Barong Dance Batubulan Every day 9:30 am
  Ubud palace Friday 7:00 pm
  Kesiman Every day 9:30 am
       
Calonarang Dance Mawang- Ubud Thurs, Sat 7:00 pm
       
Gambuh Dance Batuan 1st & 15th of  Each month 7:00 pm
       
Kecak Dance Padang tegal Sun , Wed 7:00 pm
  Peliatan Fridays 7:30 pm
  Br Jungjungan Mondays 7:00 pm
       
Legong Dance Ubud Palace Mon, Sat 7:30 pm
  Peliatan Fridays 7:30 pm
  Pura Dalem-Ubud Saturday 7:30 pm
       
Mahabarata Dance Teges – Ubud Thursday 7:30 pm
       
Ramayana Ballet Ubud Palace Tuesday 7:30 pm
       
Sanghyang Jaran Dance Bona Village Sun,Mon,Fri 7:00 pm
  Batubulan Every day 6:30 pm
       
Topeng Dance Arma open stage Wednesday 7:00 pm
       
Wayang kulit  (shadow puppet) Oka Kartini-Ubud Sun, Wed 8:00 pm
       

Note :  The above schedule could be change prior any notice

 

 
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