Bali Villas Blog

Balinese Culture Temples Caste Banjar Bali Naming Galungan


Bali is an island that has more than 10,000 temples and is densely inhabited. The Balinese are known to be very spiritual, and they have a belief that good spirits reside in the mountains, while evil spirits reside in the seas. For that reason, the majority of villages in Bali have 3 fundamental temples. One of the temples is Pura Puseh or Puseh Temple facing to Mount Agung which is dedicated to the founders of the village. You may find several temples in every home, market or rice field. Offerings are made daily at the temples in the form of food, sweets, cigarettes, and sometimes some money to express gratitude to the good spirits as well as satisfy the demons.

Caste System

Bali has a Hindu caste system, except that it has some differences. For instance, there is no untouchable in the system, but it has 4 castes instead: Shudras, which are peasants comprising more than 90% of Bali’s population; Wesias, the caste that includes merchants; Satrias, the caste of nobility and kings; and Pedanas, of which members are priests and holy men. What’s amazing is that each caste has a different language. There is a separate dialect so one is able to address another of unidentified caste to prevent disrespect. However, a national language is used to avoid this confusion, which is Bahasa Indonesia taught in schools that enables everybody to talk to one another.

Village Organizations

In Bali, you can find 2 social organizations: The Subak, who decide when and who will plant the rice. Every farmer or rice paddy owner is obliged to join the Subak. The Subak also makes sure that every farmer will get proper irrigation water. Meanwhile, controlling every other part of Balinese life like marriages, festivals, cremations and community service is done by the Banjar.

Naming System

The birth of a baby in Bali will be attended by the whole family, as well as a holy man invoking spiritual powers and assisting the delivery. When naming the baby, the order of birth will be used: the first-born will be named Wayan; second-born, Made; third-born, Nyoman or Komang, and fourth-born, Ketut. If there are more than 4 children, they will be repeated.

Galungan Ceremony

Galungan is the largest ceremony held once every 210 days. The ceremony is meant to celebrate the triumph of good spirits versus evil spirits. The Balinese Hindus will need to prepare everything for the worship the day before, which is called Penampahan day (slaughter day, when they slaughter animals for offerings). They will also start making penjor, which is a Bamboo pole decoration set in front of each house. The story of Galungan is linked to Keris and Barong Dance, a sacred dancing performed daily in each stage in Batubulan village or Kuta.

Galungan Ceremony is then followed by Kuningan Ceremony that is held 10 days later. This ceremony marks the end of the 10-day festival, which is when the Balinese ancestors start leaving the earth.

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