In the banjar(village) of Wira, our Foundation president, many ceremonies unfolded these last few weeks. Here is our intern Natalie with the village ladies carrying the Barong, a type of a lion-dragon monster, through the whole village. In the next picture you'll see our Volunteer from New York dressed in traditional festival garb with Wira in the front of a beautifully carved door at Wira's home. Kevin being very tall, the sarong is a bit short on him.
Ketut Badung, our head gardener at Jiwa Damai invited the whole team and our volunteers to join him at his village in his compound to attend the wedding of his nephew.
The altar in the background with all the Balinese offerings is made completely our of pork. This was prepared by the whole village and will also be eaten by the village later.
The headdresses of the bride and the groom weigh about 5 kg each.
The clots are very beautiful and elaborate.
Guests come and go all day to bring gifts, mostly some money in an envelope to support the expenses.
This was a wonderful event to witness and a beautiful opportunity to experience Balinese culture.
A special highlight at our first week volunteering here at Jiwa Damai was an invitation from the staff to attend two temple ceremonies. We left here late afternoon with 2 cars, but in order to attend we had to dress in traditional Balinese clothes. Our guide for the evening and the President of Lagu Damai Foundation, Wira, brought sarongs, udengs (headpiece for men), ribbons and a blouse for us to dress in. Finally, Astri picked some beautiful flowers that we wore behind our ears; now looking a bit more like the locals, we were ready.
After a good hour drive we arrived at the first temple, Pura Ulun Danu Batur, the main sukas and water temple in Bali. Out of our car windows we could see myriads of people with offerings on their way to the temple.
We walked through a stunning carved gate to find ourselves in a big courtyard where a band was playing music. A group of mostly older men performed a warrior dance with symbolic spears.
It appeared we were the only foreigners that were welcomed to the inner- temple, which we can attribute to our Balinese friends.
Once inside we watched as offerings were presented to the Gods. We kept a small box made out of banana leaves containing flowers and incense in front of us.
Sitting on the floor we meditated for brief periods throughout the ceremony. At the end of the ceremony we took some rice out of a silver bowl, put it on our forehead and then ate a bit. Afterwards, we were blessed with sacred water. The sun had already set while leaving the temple and the full moon came up behind Mount Agung; the scenery was just breath-taking.
We set off to the second temple ceremony at the Mother Temple of Besakih. The Besakih Temple is the largest and most important temple in Bali and is at the base of Mount Agung. We had the honor of experiencing a second ceremony there as well before heading back.
We were very tired after the adventure and slept in our car seats the whole way back to Jiwa Damai.
Balinese people are very religious and they regularly hold ceremonies and parades in their communities. They bring offerings to the Gods in order to ask for their good will and to appease them. Wira, the general manager at Jiwa Damai, invited us to join his familiy in one of the bigger ceremonies held in his village.
We, the foreigners, got dressed up in traditional Balinses clothes. Everyone is wearing a sarong. This is really the essential piece of clothing you need during your stay on Bali!
The festivities started with a ceremony in the local temple.
Afterwards all the people of the village set out to march to the next village, to the next temple to hold the religious ceremony there.
The whole march took about 6 hours in the hot Balinese midday sun! The group stopped at 4 different temples to hold ceremonies. It was quite a challenge to walk in the boiling heat for that many hours and for so many kilometers. But it was a very special and rewarding experience at the same time. We, the foreigners, or the "bule" (how the Balinese people call foreigners) were the attraction of the group. Everyone eyed us carefully & curiously... but they welcomed us in the group with warm feelings.
The Balinese women were all dressed in their most beautiful clothes, carrying basket with offerings on their heads.
And the little kids were absolutely adorable !
All in all this day was a great experience!
At Jiwa Damai we offer our guests the opportunity to get in close contact with the Balinese people and to take part in ceremonies and local festivities.
To inquire about upcoming festivities and the possibility to join, write us an email> firstname.lastname@example.org.
This february 10th in Ubud we witnessed an important cremation ceremony. It was a king’s cremation. The body of each dead Balinese must be burned so that their souls can join the spirit’s world. This kind of event is very important for Balinese people .There are ceremonies for every stage of Balinese life but often the last ceremony-cremation-is the biggest. A Balinese cremation can be an amazing, spectacular, colorful, noisy and exciting event. In fact it often takes so long to organize a cremation that years have passed since the death.
The funeral ceremony is generally led by a priest and punctuated by a lavish offering of gifts. For the occasion, a large bullock-shaped wooden structure is built . The tower is carried on the shoulders of a group of men, the size of the group depending on the importance of the deceased and hence the size of the tower.
At the cremation ground the body is transferred to a funeral sarcophagus. Finally it all goes up in flames - the funeral tower, sarcophagus, body and the lot.
Apart from being yet another occasion for Balinese noise and confusion it's a fine opportunity to observe the incredible energy the Balinese put into creating real works of art which are totally ephemeral.