The weather in Ubud was cool, with a soft breeze flowing through the town, it was perfect weather for a night in the enchanting Ubud Palace. I sat quietly in the courtyard, surrounded by a dozen or so people; all of us longing for the next performance – we had already watched two stunning fable
Unlike religions from the Middle-East, which rest on a “revelation” transmitted through the entreaties of prophets, and in the case of Christianity, of a Messiah, Balinese religion rests on the notion of cosmic balance. The Universe and Man are considered as “similar” to one another. They consist of the same five elementals (Panca Maha Bhuta)
Teja stands tall – almost as tall as his iconic paintings. His serious nature allows for no frivolity and he is a man of few words – his words and whimsy are reserved for his art. Even though he was born in Tuban, his familial roots are from Klungkung – the home of Kamasan. This
In 1925, I Mario, a legendary dancer from Tabanan, created a jaw-dropping dance named Kebyar Duduk. Most of the routines are performed while the dancers squat close to the ground – a difficult position indeed. To make things more difficult, each routine is danced in a blink of an eye! A male dancer, elegantly dressed
It was 6 pm when two men started arranging the red plastic chairs at the front yard of PuriSarenUbud, a palace owned by the Ubud royal family. Members of the royal family still live here, within theinner compound, but allow the community to use the front patio for cultural performances in the evening. The Legong
A whisper came to me from a friend – a fabulous ceremony would be happening in the PuraDalemKedawatan at the northern end of Sanur. I quickly whispered the news on to a couple of other colleagues and on the appointed day, made my way down to Sanur’s salubrious flatlands. The temple was already busy by
Coming from a traditional Balinese background Sani has also had to contend with the voices of her peers who have a mild disapproval of her leap to the less traditional world. Jealously is easy to manifest in a traditional world but Sani tries to rise above the pettiness. Daily offerings? No need to make them
At first glance, one may think that all the Balinese mask dances look the same, but in fact they each have their unique qualities. In Bali, there are perhaps more than a dozen variations of mask dances. These mask dances are one of the many cultural performances that are passed down from generation to generation.
The longest night of the year, or the 14thpanglong of the seventh (Kapitu-or agha) month of the Balinese Sakacalender, which fell this year on the 19th of January, is fully consecrated to Shiva. It is therefore called the Night of Shiva, or SiwaRatri, which is a night of meditation aimed at cleansing the impurities accumulated
Art is filled with love; perhaps it is because through art, love can be expressed without any barriers, becoming a representation of pure feeling and emotion. The Russian-French artist, Marc Chagall, was once quoted saying that “Art must be an expression of love, or it is nothing”. Love is ever present in Bali, and in
Bali is filed with exotic happenings. Rituals and ceremonies happen almost every day of the year with concentrations happening around the culmination of the full moon or Purnama and certain important days on the Balinese calendar. The primary purpose of ritual is to cleanse. Both objects and people can be cleared of negative aspect, while
You’ve heard about reincarnation, right? Of course you have. But my guess is that you have heard about the formal, reformed-Hindu version of it, “You will reincarnate as a dog if you behave like one”, meaning, you will bear the consequences of your deeds in your future incarnation(s). While some narrow-minded Balinese will insist this
Historian and art critic Jean Couteau brings us stories depicting the life on Bali, sometimes real, sometimes myth, always meaningful. Here he shares the story of Ngendag , a Balinese ritual in which buried corpses are exhumed to be cremated. This and other stories can be found in Jean Couteau’s book, Myth, Magic and Mystery in Bali .