I am just back from my first trip to Bali where I spent eight days in Ubud. Those of you who follow me on instagram, have already seen a few pictures. After going through my photos, I want to share different parts of my trip over there around four topics in four different posts. The first topic I want to talk about is, the daily rituals Balinese Hindus do by making offerings.
One of the first things I noticed the day I arrived in Ubud, are the small baskets full of colourful flowers and encens sticks in front of every house, in the streets, at the Temple…they were everywhere. Then one day, in the guest house where I was staying with my friend Céline (check her blog here – only in French though), I watched the owner’s mother making them. Another early morning, Nyoman the owner himself, was delivering them whilst making a prayer at the house’s shrine first and then placing them at each guest room’s door.
These simple offerings are called “Canang Sari” and are made of young coconut leaves that you “sew” with a wooden stick, although nowadays staples do the job which is faster as women have to prepare 20 to 25 per day! Then you place a first flower for the “heart” in the middle of the small basket and then you cover it with a combination of colourful flowers. Then you finish by adding little cracker or slice of fruit and/or a coin together with a tiny portion of rice on a banana leaf. Check the one I did before our cooking class, which I will talk about in my next post.
These daily offerings are a ritual of giving back what has been given to you by the Gods. It is a sharing that is not based upon fear, but on gratitude to the richness of life. Offering appeases the spirits and brings prosperity and good health to the family. It is a duty and an honour at the same time, and in Balinese perspective a very natural and almost logical thing to maintain a good relationship between people and spirits. The offerings placed at houses’ doorsteps will keep the evil spirits outside the house by making them happy with the content of the basket.
If you go to the Ubud central market, that is before 8:30 in the morning (before it changes into a big tourist attraction), you will find many stalls selling already made baskets, all sorts of flowers and leaves.
Stay tuned for my next post on Balinese cooking!
Note: I have used my iphone and my DLSR during the trips, so each post is a combination of pictures.