Hujan Memedi : The Demon of Bali’s Sun Showers

Have you ever wondered how it can rain when the sun is shining? Whilst science has its explanations, Balinese folklore has its very own colourful story behind this phenomenon. We all have heard some strange answers as to why it happens. One popular saying, with southern United States origins, indicates the devil is ‘kissing his

Sachi Kondo
Patung Bayi Gianyar Bali

Patung Bayi : The Myth of Bali’s Crying Baby Statue

A giant baby sits cross-legged facing southwards on the main road of Sakah in Sukawati — and it’s hard to miss its wide stone-head towering over you. Its catus pata location (the centre of an area, often deemed sacred) makes it a symbolic monument but when it was built 30 years ago, not a soul

NB Sept 2020 - Bali Myth - Uluwatu 1 -Lowres Thumb

The ‘Brave’ Monkeys of Uluwatu Temple: A Bali Myth

Pura Luhur Uluwatu is notoriously inhabited by long-tail macaques. Legend has it, these indigenous monkeys were once brave warriors to the Hindu high-priest who built the temple. Behind the tourist charm of the sea temple lie stories that may remain as myths. Perched on the edge of a limestone cliff jutting into the Indian Ocean,

In the Name of Love: Bali’s Notorious ‘Love Magic’

Whilst witchcraft was largely condemned in the ancient west, professional magic practitioners are widespread in Bali even today. With black magic being a popular resort to attract love, bending another’s will for admiration is not an uncommon practice on the island. Should we be worried? The old Indonesian saying ‘cinta ditolak, dukun bertindak’ (when love

The Bali Break-Up Curse

Planning a romantic holiday normally entails the thrill of chasing idyllic destinations and intimate activities. Thanks to a folktale circulating online, the Bali ‘breakup curse’ is digested as more than just a myth. It has seen couples discarding travel plans, dismissing the true beauty of the island. Have you come across stories about the couple’s

Lembu Putih Taro : Holy White Cows of Taro Village

When cows provide beef and dairy elsewhere in the world, this Balinese village worships white bovines and uses their urine as medicine. What’s so sacred about them? There is a Balinese term ‘mule keto’ that loosely translates to the familiar saying ‘it is what it is.’ If one questions a local as to why things

Atma Kesasar: Dangers of a Lost Soul

Did you know, it’s possible for one to ‘lose their soul’ in Bali. From unfinished death rites to falling unconscious, souls can lose their connection and wander among us. In Bali, Hinduism takes a different form from its Indian counterpart. One of the clearest distinctions is their interpretation of reincarnation. In India, depending on one’s

A Bali Myth: Knock-Knock, Who’s There?

On the island, if a ‘knock knock’ comes to you late at night, mid-slumber, it might just be a visitor from another realm. .. You may have heard of the old superstition that says hearing three knocks in the dead of night, with seemingly no cause, means death is at your doorstep. You might have

A Balinese Ghost Story

According to this Balinese legend, if you witness a white sheet flying towards you, it’s time to run! We’re all familiar with ghost stories. The haunted tales exchanged by the fire after midnight. The one about the creak of floorboards, the mystery of displaced furniture, the distressed ululations of a woman far in the distance.

Madiksa: A Priest’s Second Birth

To become a Balinese Hindu high priest, or sulinggih, prospective priests must first go through the madiksa ritual. Some refer to it as a ‘death ritual’, as for the priest to be reborn as a new, cleansed man or woman, he or she must first “die”. A prerequisite to become a Catholic priest is being

How Do the Balinese Choose Their ‘Auspicious’ Days?

Here in Bali, a joyous occasion will turn to misery if not celebrated at the right time. It is of utmost important, therefore, that an auspicious day is chosen very carefully for ceremonies and rituals. Never will a Balinese person hold a ceremony without consulting a specialist (in most cases, a priest) to determine the

law enforcement deities

The Law Enforcement Deities of Belega Village

The villagers of Belega in Blahbatuh, Gianyar, have an interesting story to tell to the visitors to the area. It’s about the deities inhabiting Belega’s village temple, Pura Dalem. The Pura Dalem in Belega village may seem like a regular temple found in other villages throughout Bali, but upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that the

Atlas is a Giant Turtle and Two Snakes

Greek mythology acknowledges Atlas as a titan condemned to bear the weight of the heavens – often portrayed as a celestial globe – on his shoulders. Balinese mythology, however, begs to differ. Atlas is said to be the one who knows the depths of the whole sea and keeps the tall pillars that hold the

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