Peliatan Style

A lifetime achievement award also went to Milo for services to batik, the Baris Cina troupe of Renon for trance-wear and Janet De Neefe, for services to bulletproof white corsettes.

The Bird King

The strong connection of traditions between Java and Bali began thousands of years ago, tied with the movement of the people of the Majapahit Kingdom migrating from Java to Bali. Certain beliefs, customs and even bedtime stories on the island originated from ancient Javanese cultures, which existed long before Islamic teachings arrived. Folktales passed on

Mapping Bali – Island, Culture, People

Why do we make so many maps? If you look at any civilization at any time in history you will find people making maps. Monastic scholars, imperialistic explorers, illiterate navigators; history is filled with cartographers. Each person has made maps in his or her own unique way, and each culture has formed its own unique

Pendet: A Beautiful Welcoming Dance

Dance has always been a part of many sacred ceremonies and traditional rituals in the island. Some dances are considered sacred as they are offered to the Gods or the deities, while others are simply performed for the audience. Pendet dance is a simple welcoming dance choreographed to welcome the audience. The dance is one

The Peeping Toms of Bali

The Jakarta Post of November 3rd brought interesting news: “Residents of the Angke  Rusanawa low-cost apartment complex in West Jakarta were shocked by the discovery of a man’s body in the ceiling of an apartment early on Monday.” Residents allege the man died of an electric shock while trying to peep in on a newly

Bali’s Wild Side

I have been documenting Bali for 40 years now — writing this column for almost 25 years — and I am sick of trying to explain the irrational. People often ask me why the Balinese are always flailing about and pulling the heads off chickens and I always feel like answering ‘Because you’re a twit’. I

Jegog Bamboo

Bamboo is one commodity that plays an important role in balinese life, from being used to build a house, weaved into a roof or basket, used as the pole to make penjor – a special decoration erected in front of the house during galungan and kuningan holy celebrations – and also transformed into a set

The Big Odalan

It started off sunnily enough. A few of us were invited for the last day of a month long house Piodalan Mempedem Perdagingan Festival – a festival that encompassed the whole extended family as well as the entire village. This celebration was a big one – and the last time it happened was a very

Behind Closed Doors of Top Balinese Artist Studios

Personally, I’m always captivated by the topic of Balinese painters and their palettes. From the first time I visited a painter’s studio years ago, I have been floored by the variety of materials these artists use, and have also been seduced by the allure of their creative spaces. To me, looking into an artist’s studio

Century Old Ceremonies

We’re sure you already know that Balinese culture and beliefs date back centuries. Religion is inseparable from everyday life, from simple daily rituals to grand temple festivals. No opportunity is lost to worship their gods in an unending series of ceremonies; mantras are chanted endlessly. Barong Procession in Baturiti In Baturiti, one of Bali’s most

The Release of the Aborted Foetus’ Soul

One of the best ways to learn about different cultures is by looking at how they deal with death; i.e. how they dispose of people’s corpses and what status and attention they give, if any, to the latter’s soul. In Bali, death is dealt with in such a way so as not only to get

The Closing

Ngusaba Sambah may the biggest series of rite of passage ceremonies held by the community of Tenganan Dauh Tukad Village in the Karangasem Regency of East Bali. The month-long event, which consists of several unique ceremonies, including banana and pandan wars, is organised solely by the village members. These sacred ceremonies are meant to mark the

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