The Island of Gods
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- Spoken language:
- Indonesian, Balinese, English
- Indonesian Rupee
Passport: necessary, with a residual validity of at least 6 months from the date of departure from Indonesia.
Entry Visa: Contact the Indonesian Embassy in your country
- Power and Sockets:
- 230 V / 50 Hz - Plug Type C, F e G
Unlike the other Indonesian islands where the Muslim population predominates, the most widespread religion in Bali is Hinduism, immediately followed by Islam. Present in a lower percentage instead are Christianity and Buddhism.
As you will immediately notice in the first few days, the Balinese are a very religious people and faithful to the rites that religion imposes. Although Hinduism is a very complex creed with many rules, gods, rites and ceremonies here people always follow it by the book demonstrating a great dedication and respect for the oldest traditions. You can’t help but notice the flowers and the food offerings left at the corners of the streets, or the yellow and blue drapes that adorn the tree trunks or simply the scent of incense that will accompany you constantly throughout your holiday. All these little details are proof of how Hinduism is present and fundamental in Balinese everyday life.
Regardless of your religion, we suggest you observe carefully the religious rites of the premises, the habits that make it radically part of their daily life, of the dedication that moves them to all those little gestures made in honor of the gods. All this is going to enrich your holiday, and perhaps even your life, by making you open your eyes on religions that are very different from your own.
Balinese Hinduism is also called Agama Hindu Dharma and literally means Religion of Rules. It differs from traditional Hinduism because it incorporates many animistic beliefs and a strong reverence towards the enlightened of Buddhism.
Unlike many other religions whose aim is to allow the good and all those who support it win, the task of the Hindu faithful instead is to maintain a balance in the cosmic order by praying both benign and malignant spirits. Good must not prevail over evil as evil must not prevail over good. For this reason along your journey you will often find temples and sacred places in honor of the villains (like for example the god of Death).
Balinese Hinduism, despite being a polytheistic religion, foresees a supreme god (Sanghyang Widhi Wasa) who has the task of maintaining the order of the universe and is personified in different ways. The main ones are those of the Hindu Trinity: Barhma (the creator), Vishnu (The Giver of Life) and Shiva (the God of Death)
The most widespread ritual, which is carried out daily by the population, are the offers to the god Sang Hyang Widhi. The women prepare small baskets made with palm leaves, fill them with fragrant flowers representing various gods and place them outside the temples, on the door of the house or on the corners of the streets. Passers-by can light incense and pray for both good and bad spirits.
According to a Balinese belief, newborn children represent the soul of an ancestor and are considered gods until their 42nd day of life. During this period the mother cannot participate in any religious activity as she is considered impure. When a child reaches puberty it is subjected to the rite of the tooth file during which the six upper frontal teeth are filed up to the same level.
For the Balinese Hinduism the most important ceremony is that which takes place after the death of a person: it represents the liberation of the soul from the body to allow the reincarnation. The corpse must be burnt before the soul leaves it completely.
A detail that perhaps escapes most is the constant presence in temples, monuments or sacred objects of a symbol that we Europeans associate with our very sad historical event: the swastika. It is a sacred symbol for the Hindus, such as the Cross for Catholics, and symbolizes Vishnu and the wheel of life revolving around a fixed point.
So, when you see this symbol during your trip to Bali, forget all the preconceptions stemming from our history and show respect to a sacred symbol for the population that is your host.
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