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Balinese Culture

 

BALINESE CULTURE

Bali Bali

Bali is famous for many forms of art, including painting, sculpture, woodcarving, handcrafts, and performing arts. Balinese gamelan music is highly developed and varied. The dances portray stories from Hindu epics such as the Ramayana. Famous Balinese dances include pendet, legong, baris, topeng, barong, and kecak (the monkey dance).

National education programs, mass media and tourism continue to change Balinese culture. Immigration from other parts of Indonesia, especially Java, is changing the ethnic composition of Bali's population.

The Hindu new year, Nyepi, is celebrated in the spring by a day of silence. On this day everyone stays at home and tourists are encouraged to remain in their hotels. On the preceding day large, colorful sculptures of ogoh-ogoh monsters are paraded and finally burned in the evening to drive away evil spirits. Other festivals throughout the year are specified by the Balinese pawukon calendrical system.

LANGUAGE

Balinese and Indonesian are the most widely spoken languages in Bali, and like most Indonesians, the vast majority of Balinese people are bilingual or trilingual. There are several indigenous Balinese languages, but most Balinese can also use the most widely spoken option: modern common Balinese. The usage of different Balinese languages was traditionally determined by the Balinese caste system and by clan membership, but this tradition is diminishing.

English is a common third language (and the primary foreign language) of many Balinese, owing to the requirements of the large tourism industry. Japanese is a prominent language on the island, learned by its inhabitants and used on signs. Staff working in Bali's tourist centres are often, by necessity, multilingual to some degree, speaking as many as 8 or 9 different languages to an often surprising level of competence.

Bali

Tourist have nothing to worry as most of the signboards in Bali are in English and most of the shop keepers are able to converse in English. Just make your way along any of the major roads and with enough change in your pockets, you’ll never go hungry!

WHAT MAKES BALI SO SPECIAL

Bali

There is the combination of the friendly people, the natural attractions, the great variety of things to see and do, the year-round pleasant climate, and the absence of security problems. And then there is Bali's special "magic", which is difficult to explain.

As soon as you step off the plane you might sense the difference. In the villages you'll notice the quietness and wisdom in old people's faces, and the interest and respect in the young's. Old men sit at the road side caressing their fighting cocks. Beautifully dressed women walk proudly through rice fields and forests carrying offerings on their heads to the next temple. There is the smell of flowers, and in the distance you hear the sound of gamelan music.

Volcano

Gods and spirits have been an important part of Bali's daily life for hundreds of years. Gunung Agung - Bali's holy mountain - is internationally regarded as one of the eight "Chakra" points of the world. This may be more than a coincident. Watch out, the moment you feel the magic of this island, you're addicted for the rest of your life.

 

- back to Bali -

 

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