making offerings in bali

Although 88% of Indonesia is muslim, being the largest islamic country in the world, Bali is primarily Hindu.  The Hindu religion is very important to the Balinese people, and you will see this reflected in their die-hard dedication to make offerings to the gods around five times a day.  Something you will also notice about Bali is the many stray and poorly treated dogs.  The reason for the poor treatment is because the offerings are also made for evil spirits, and since the dogs usually gobble up the offerings after they are made, they are seen as the evil spirits.

Balinese OmThis is also seen in the many ceremony days they have throughout the year.  It seems as if almost every day is a ceremony, and on these days you will see people flooding the streets around temples to make offerings and participate in the ceremony.  Some of these include cremation days, full or new moon festivals, funerals, etc.  Every house in Bali is required to have its own temple, which is always located in the most north west corner of the property.  There are also temples that are built on their own, which means that there are more temples than houses on Bali.  If you want to visit a temple, you should and are sometimes required to wear the traditional dress.  For men this means a scarf around the waste (in addition to normal shorts and t-shirt) and for women this means a long sleeve shirt, a sarong, and a scarf around the waist.  You will see men and women in this dress on many occasions when they are participating in ceremonies at their temple.

You may have heard that Bali is somewhat of a “yoga capital” for practicing yogis around the world.  This is because the practice of “yoga,” and there are many types, originates from the Hindu religion that the Balinese follow.  You will see evidence of this especially in Ubud, which is the cultural hub where daily life is still very true to its roots and not completely westernized for tourists.  The Bali Om (Ohm, Aum) symbol will also be featured on many tourist products, since “Ohm” is the main mantra and symbol that yogis use and recognize.

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