Tooth-filing or metatah is an important Hindu Balinese rite of passage. Every parent who has a child who has reached adolescence is obliged to carry out this ritual. If someone dies before having the metatah rituals, his family must perform this ritual before the body is cremated.
Why should a lion not have wings if it adds to his majesty? In Bali, where art is deeply related to the religious practices of the Hindu Balinese, mythological creatures abound, from temple art to funerary biers and guardian effigies. One of the most prevalent magical beasts in all these forms is the winged lion (singa bersayap).
Bali is famous for its art, especially its music and dance. One of the most beautiful classical dances is Oleg Tamulilingan. The dance was created by I Ketut Marya, better known as I Mario, in 1952 at the request of John Coast, a British cultural connoisseur who was deeply impressed with Balinese art. Oleg Tamulilingan [...]
Ten days after Galungan, Balinese Hindus celebrate the feast of Kuningan, which this year falls on 15 April 2017. As glorious as Galungan, the celebration of Kuningan is also marked with prayers and offerings. People decorate their houses and temples with palm-leaf ornaments. Special among these is the tamiang. What is a tamiang? The tamiang [...]
Creativity is the result of human imagination poured into a work that develops over time. Balinese culture is rich with popular creativity. An eye-catching example of creativity in Bali is ogoh-ogoh, giant demonic effigies made by community members on the occasion of Nyepi, Bali's Day of Silence celebrated around March every year. Ogoh-ogoh are symbols [...]
The Balinese cosmos is orderly and full of meaning. Everything has its place and value, each with its own ideal location. All must be correctly aligned to achieve balance and harmony with the universe. Thus, rules are made for the common good. This applies even to Balinese architecture. Bali architecture has its own principles regarding [...]
‘Mepanggangan di Bencingah’ sounds like the name of a fashion designer or perhaps a strange new wine. In fact it is Balinese for fixing a grilled dinner (mepanggangan, from panggang, ‘to grill’) in the forecourt (bencingah) of a palace or temple. And it is the name of a special occasion offered to guests of Komaneka [...]
Traditional Balinese architecture consists of a walled courtyard with various pavilions, or balé. The pavilions are arrayed according to Balinese cosmology, with different values for the cardinal points of the compass. Each pavilion is named after its position in the courtyard and has a special function. For example, in the north or ‘toward the mountain’ [...]
Legong is the ultimate classical Balinese dance. Refined, complex, and extremely demanding physically, it is traditionally performed by pre-adolescent girls, who begin learning it as young as the age of five. Legong is usually danced by two identical dancers who move in unison. They are often preceded by a third dancer, called a condong, in [...]
Visitors to Bali are often intrigued by the lovely compositions of flowers and leaves that the Balinese set out in shrines, on sidewalks, and even on the dashboards of their cars. These little canang offerings are addressed to the many spirits and energies of the invisible world that, along with the visible world, make up [...]