Hinduism and Ceremonies

Religion

Religion embraced by the majority of Balinese are Hindus about 95%, of the population of Bali, while the remaining 5% are adherents of Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Hinduism is the purpose of life to achieve life balance and peace of outward and inward. Citizens Hindu Balinese believe the one God in the Trinity concept form, ie a form of Brahman (the creator), a form of Vishnu (the protector and maintainer), as well as the form of Shiva (the destroyer). Places of worship are called temples retreat. Ancestral shrines called buffering. Hindu religious scriptures are the Vedas which originated from India.

Guidance in the teachings of Hinduism namely: (1). Tattwa (philosophy of religion), (2). Ethical (moral), (3). Ceremonies (yodnya).

The feast of the people of the Hindu religion is the celebration of Nyepi whose implementation Saka new year on the 1st of month 10 (kedasa), except that there are also Galungan, brass, saras wati, tumpek landep, tumpek uduh, and Siwa ratri. People who died in the Hindu ceremony held sanggat Ngaben deemed essential to free the spirits of people who have passed away from worldly ties to heaven. Cremation itself is cremation.

Gods

Along with the traditional Hindu gods such as Vishnu and Brahma, Balinese Hindus worship a range of deities unique to their branch of the religion. The supreme god of Balinese Hinduism is Saang Hyang Widhi Wasa. However, this is a relatively recent addition to the pantheon. The name was originally contrived by Christian missionaries as a Balinese language name for the Christian God. It was later adopted by the Balinese to make it clear that their religion had a single supreme god in line with the first principle of the Indonesian state philosophy Pancasila.

The empty chair at the top of the padmasana shrine found outside houses and temples is for Saang Hyang Widhi Wasa Other gods include Dewi Sri, the goddess of rice and gods associated with mountains, lakes and the sea.

 

Balinese Hindu Ceremony offerings

When visiting Bali, you'll quickly notice that traditional Balinese Hindu ceremonies are an important, integral part of daily life on the 'Island of the Gods.' Such traditions are partly what makes Bali so unique and charming. Regularly mingling with locals dressed in traditional ceremonial clothing, carrying baskets of fruit/flower offerings, going off to temples or beaches or friends' homes to attend the seemingly never-ending series of ceremonies are vivid experiences visitors remember fondly.

What visitors won't recognize so easily is that this slew of ceremonies affects Balinese life in other unexpected ways. For example, Balinese use large amounts of their income for the frequent and expensive decorations, offerings, special clothing and feasts required for such ceremonies. The rituals and preparations also consume an astounding amount of their time. In addition, Balinese employees are repeatedly skipping out on work, taking hours- or days- off, which makes businesses run much less smoothly than in the western world.

The Hindu ceremonies themselves are quite complicated and frequent. The Balinese calendar reveals that during each month of the year 8-15 days are considered special Hindu days of one sort or the other. That means every 2-4 days of the Balinese' lives is a religious ceremony! As for complexity, several detailed books have been written on the subject. As a brief overview:

The Balinese recognize 5 categories of ceremonies:

  • 1. Ceremonies for the Gods. "Dewa Yodnya"
  • 2. Ceremonies for humans' important life events. "Mansa Yodnya"
  • 3. Ceremonies for priests. "Resi Yodnya"
  • 4. Ceremonies for ancestors. "Pitra Yodnya"
  • 5. Ceremonies for devils. "Bita Yodnya"
  • Ceremonies for Gods and humans are by far the most abundant and lavish. It's primarily these 2 types of ceremonies, along with daily Hindu offerings, that keep the Balinese perpetually preparing for and attending ceremonies. Following are details on these 2 major category of ceremonies.