Bali is known by the world as a popular tourist destination with the uniqueness of its arts, particularly among the Japanese and Australian tourists. Many people recognize Bali as the island of Gods and thousand Temples.
Bali is located between Java and Lombok Island with Denpasar as its capital province. It is situated in the southern area of the island. In addition to the island of Bali, the province of Bali also consists of smaller islands located near the main island. There are Nusa Penida Island, Nusa Lembongan Island, Nusa Ceningan Island and Serangan Island.
Around 2000 BC, Austronesian people inhabited Bali. They migrated and came from Taiwan by way of Maritime Southeast Asia. Thus, the culture and language of the Balinese are closely related to those from the islands of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Oceania.
The Origin Name of Bali
The name Bali was first introduced in the 17th century by a hermit Maha Rsi Markandeya from Raung Mountain in East Java named. During his prayer, he received revelation that ordered him to move to the island of Dawa, a long island. Along with his 800 followers, he embarked on the journey until they finally arrived in West Bali. But upon his journey in this island, three fourth of followers died being eaten by tigers and large snakes in the forest so they decided to return to Mount Raung.
Once he gained some new followers and performed the ritual of planting the Panca Dhatu consisting of five types of metal as repellents, Maha Rsi Markandeya, and his followers finally return to Pulau Dawa and made a stop at the foot of Mount Agung, Besakih for exact. The Hindu religion started to be made known and they worshiped Sanghyang Widhi three times a day using offerings or bebali containing their elements consisting of water, fire and fragrant flowers.
So naming Bali comes from the word bebali which means offerings. The name Bali Dwipa or “Bali Island” were found in many inscriptions, including the Blanjong inscription pillar written by Sri Kesari Warmadewa in 914 AD which mentions “Walidwipa”.
The History of Bali
Although the early Balinese history can be traced back to the Stone Age, most of the Balinese heritage began to develop during the Majapahit Empire around 1293-1520 AD. This period was the glorious era of the Majapahit kingdom led by Hayam Wuruk.
Apart from Bali, the kingdom also conquered other regions, such as the southern Malaya Peninsula, Sumatra, Kalimantan, and several regions in eastern Indonesia, including the Philippines. Those periods were the golden eras of the kingdom with the birth of several Hindu-Javanese literary masterpieces and arts which have become the basis of Balinese art until the present time.
The golden era of Bali came to an end with the death of Hayam Wuruk due to the rise of many conflicts in the royal family, where royal power in Java became stronger than other regions. The downfall of the Majapahit Kingdom in the 15th century was followed by the massive exodus of Majapahit citizens to Bali, most of them were Hindu priests, intellectuals, artists and members of the royal family.
Facts about Bali
There are some interesting things about the island of Bali which, perhaps, are rarely known by people outside Bali. So, here are some facts about Bali which might be interesting for you to know.
1. In the past, Balinese women were bare-chest
In the past, Balinese women appeared to be bare-chest in their everyday life. They were not afraid of being the object of crime because the indigenous population at that time was notably naïve, innocent and natural.
Looking bare-chested at that time was a symbol of beauty and physical and spiritual honesty. Also, by being bare-chested, people would recognize the honesty of a woman, so no one dared to touch them although being exposed to others. To be a respectable woman, Balinese women maintained their integrity so that no men dared to lay their hands on them. This is a real fact and even many documentation photos and videos related to these women can be found on the internet.
2. Indigenous Balinese People Believe in Karma Phala
The majority of Balinese residents are Hindus who believe in the law of Karma Phala and believe in the existence of reincarnation (reincarnation). They believe that every deed or good karma will get good rewards too, and vice versa, bad deeds will have bad consequences, and they will endure all results of these deeds now or in their future lives during reincarnation.
3. Cockfighting in Bali is easy to find
Although gambling is definitely prohibited in Indonesia, including in Bali, cockfighting in Bali, especially in the Denpasar area and a number of places in rural areas can easily be found. The gamblers are aware that gambling is prohibited and illegal, but they still bet luck with fate and willing to be a prisoner if caught.
The practice of cockfighting or known tajen has been going on for a very long time. The fact that tajen gambling (cockfighting) is indeed very difficult to eradicate in Bali, perhaps due to the existence of a procession of tabuh rah or cockfighting until it drips blood during certain religious ceremonies.
4. Bali Has Many Holidays
In the Balinese calendar, it appears to have a lot of holidays. It is due to a number of major religious holidays. A number of major religious holidays in Bali include Galungan, Kuningan, Nyepi, Pagerwesi, Saraswati and a number of major ceremonies such as piodalan (pujawali) on a temple which requires a holiday. These holidays are used more for religious activities than going on their vacations.
5. Frangipani Flower Is the Favorite Flower in Ba
It is a fact that almost every home yard in Bali adorns its grounds with frangipani trees, including hotels and villas using the frangipani tree as an ornamental plant, so that frangipani trees in Bali have quite high economic value, especially the already large trees. Frangipani trees do have a variety of meanings. In Bali, frangipani trees are a favorite flower not only for offerings but as a form of beauty. Native Balinese make the frangipani flower as an identity; a flower that has the value of beauty over other flowers, Balinese girls will look more perfect if a frangipani flower is tucked into her ear.
6. The term of Caste in Bali
As written in the Weda, that there is no term caste in Hinduism. The Hinduism also knows warna, in catur warna people are classified according to their function and expertise which is divided into 4 groups, including Brahmins who function as leaders of religious ceremonies that are experts in spiritual midwives, Knights function or have experts in leadership such as the king and retainer and soldiers, Weisya is a group that functions and has expertise in industry and the economy, then the most are the Sudra groups who function as workers who focus on service.
But in the Dutch era, with the purpose of disuniting the people, they created caste taken from catur warna which was passed down from generation to generation. Although sometimes there are pros and cons, the existence of castes is still valued by the majority of Balinese.
7. Bali Island is the island Traditional Festival
Due to its various range of religious ceremonies and traditional rituals, Bali is known to be as the island with a thousand traditional festivals. Some of the highlights include the Omed-omedan mass kiss festival, mass trance in the Raiding ritual, and the war using prickly pandanus in Tenganan Village. There is also a kite festival which is the biggest kite festival in Indonesia!
Traditions in Bali
Bali is rich with traditions that are still being practiced until now. A number of unique traditions are presented as an attraction and as a treat for tourists who vacation in Bali. These unique Bali cultures and traditions are still preserved to this day which is closely related to people’s beliefs about rituals or processions wrapped in a tradition.
The followings are some traditions that you can witness when visiting Bali.
1. Nyepi Festival
This festival is very popular and known by not only Indonesians by also foreigners. The celebration of Nyepi Day in Bali is held once a year as the greeting of Isakawarsa’s New Year which falls on the dead month (Tilem) sasih Kesanga. This day is also known as a silence day.
2. Ogoh-Ogoh Parade
The tradition parading the ogoh-ogoh in Bali was held exactly a day before Nyepi day. Ogoh-ogoh is a giant doll that is a symbol of Bhuta Kala, made with a horrifying form, or symbol of evil.
3. Ngaben Ceremony in Bali
The majority of Balinese Hindus perform Ngaben ceremonies when people die although there are some people who do not perform this ceremony like those of Bali Aga residents, in the villages of Tenganan and Trunyan. This tradition aims to purify the soul of the deceased.
4. Gebug Ende Seraya
Generally, Gebug Ende Seraya is held during the dry season in Seraya Village. Gebug Ende is done by letting two people fight. Each fighter carries a weapon in the form of rattan and a protector. Uniquely, the referee never announces the winner at the end of the event.
5. Pengerebongan Ceremony
Ngerebong or gathering is held every Sunday Pon on Wuku Medangsia according to the Balinese calendar. The purpose of this tradition is for humans to always maintain a harmonious relationship with God, their neighbors, and also nature. The ritual is normally done by the people at the Village of Kesiman in destined time.
6. Omed-Omedan Ceremony
This unique tradition is held in the center of Denpasar, precisely in Banjar Kaja, Sesetan Village, South Denpasar. Omed-omedan means pushes and pulls between young people and young women in the Banjar region and sometimes accompanied by a kiss scene between the two.
This tradition is held as a form of joy after the celebration of Nyepi Day. This is an ancestral cultural heritage which has a sacred value and is believed bad things will happen if this tradition is not performed.
Balinese language or just Bali is a native language on the island of Bali. The Balinese language consists of two dialects including the Bali Aga or Bali Mula of which dialect is spoken by Balinese residents in the highland areas of Bali and the Balinese dialect of flatland which is spoken by residents who generally live in lowland areas in Bali.
The percentage of the difference between the two dialects is 60%. In addition, the Balinese language is also spread in several other regions, for example in East Java, West Nusa Tenggara, Southeast Sulawesi, and Lampung.
The original Balinese language is divided into 2, including:
1. Aga language is the Balinese language with a more bearish pronunciation.
2. Balinese Mojopahit is a language with a refined pronunciation.