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Guidelines for the Culturally Sensitive Guest

The Balinese people are very open to sharing their unique cultural heritage and the spiritual wisdom they have nurtured over centuries. Visitors to Bali will be warmly welcomed to most temples and ceremonies. There are, however, certain codes of conduct that visitors should follow to offer respect for the Balinese and their culture.

When attending a temple ceremony, remember that it is not a party but a celebration to welcome the gods down to earth. Balinese always, no matter how many hardships they may face in their material life, put on their finest traditional clothing as a gesture of respect to both the worldly hosts of the event and the divine guests. Women wear a sarong, a long length of cloth wrapped from waist to ankles, a lacy blouse called a kebaya, and a sash tied around the waist. They will often tie up their hair in elaborate styles, and decorate it with fresh tropical flowers. If they own a piece of precious gold jewelry, they will wear it, and they will wear makeup and lipstick, for the Balinese gods delight in beauty. Men as well will be sure to dress respectfully, in a sarong, their best shirt or ceremonial jacket, a sash around the waist and an elaborately folded headdress (Udeng). The Balinese are thrilled to see visitors wearing Balinese ceremonial dress and deeply appreciate the respect it shows. So if you want to share the experience of attending a ceremony, ask a Balinese friend or someone in your hotel to help you find the correct clothing and show you how to wear it.

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July 23, 2009   No Comments

Drinking in Bali

Tuak - Balinese Palm Beer

Every culture has their way of drinking, there even rules for drinking, Balinese also has a way in drinking, especially for traditional liquors- Tuak and Arak. Tuak is a sweet wine made from the coconut palm flower, while Arak is strong liquors distilled from tuak. For Balinese drink liquors is men prerogative. In old days there is no woman drinks arak or tuak but with the passing of the time women start to drink tuak but never arak (too strong for woman) it is not discrimination, Balinese believe that arak is dangerous for womb. Women usually drink tuak secretly or in house compound not in public (warung stalls, on the road side, or balai banjar/sub village public hall) as men do.

Drinking for Balinese is usually for recreational purposes. We drink to strengthen the friendship among friends and to make a friend among strangers. There is an old saying among teenagers, it runs “cigarette and liquors are tools for making friends. It is common for Balinese to invite a stranger to join a “drink circle”. (We usually sit in a circle while drinking).We seldom drink for stress relieving purpose or Drink for Drunk (drink for the sake of getting drunk) drinking for recreational purpose can be a very creative way of drinking. Balinese usually sing while drinking, this habit originated genjek tradition.

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July 6, 2009   No Comments

Festival North Balinese Performing Arts

Conference and Festival ‘Cultural Identity of Buleleng’

The lunch concerts and evening concerts take place on the outdoor stage of the Bali Taman Hotel, Lovina Beach. The program features a selection of traditional music and dance styles of the various cultural centers of Buleleng, introduced by I Wayan Dibia and North Balinese seniman tua (old masters). The evening concerts focus on specific topics:

- old fashioned mabarung (competition) between east and west Buleleng, featuring dances like Taruna Jaya/Wiran Jaya and Palawakia,

- rare and sacred ensembles, featuring a unique semar pagulingan from the Munduk/Gobleg area and a recently restored gong gede from Tejakula,

- contemporary works from A.A. Bulan Trisna (dance) and a newly commissioned work by I Gusti Bagus Suarsana (gong kebyar).

The program will be regularly updated on the schedule page.

April 22, 2009   1 Comment

Sanghyang Jaran


Sanghyang Jaran, the Pemangku (temple priest) or a group of chosen men becomes himself the Sanghyang, possessed by ancestral deity, a Gandarwa (celestial soldier) on horseback. The dance is performed in the inner court yard of the death temple. As in Sanghyang Dedari the dancer is put into trance with wafted of incense and chorus of Sanghyang song. In the state of trance the dancer fall, convulsed to the ground and rush to grab hobby horses. During the pre-trance chanting, coconut shells have been lit, leaving red hot coals.

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February 24, 2009   No Comments