Bali is a very unique island, everyone who comes here can feel the strong spirituality that emerges from every aspect of its daily life. You don’t have to wait for a big religious ceremony to know that Balinese is a very observant group, it is reflected in their daily lives too.
A Balinese Hindu is required to do daily prayers and presenting offerings to the gods. Some are done privately, some can be seen by others. Here are some of the daily religious rituals you can see in Bali. You might encounter these especially when you stay in a guesthouse managed by a family.
To start, each Balinese Hindu’s house has a pelinggih or sanggah. It is an altar that becomes stana (respectful dwelling place) for God. Every day, without fail, a family will put an offering on the pelinggih, usually in the morning. This is called mesodan ritual.
The relatively small offerings consist of flowers and sliced pandan leaves (canang), sometimes also coffee, snacks, and water. The offerings are also completed with burning incense. In the afternoon, the sodan offerings are taken back away from the pelinggih.
Mesaiban is essentially offering the food you cook to the god before you even eat them. This is normally done by women after they finish cooking in the morning. Mesaiban a ritual giving a very small amount of your food to God by putting them outside the house.
Having finished cooking, a Balinese woman would take a little rice and side dish, put them on a small piece of banana leaves, and put them on the pelinggih. The family can eat after mesaiban finished. So if you see food outside a Balinese’s house, it is actually an offering as a form of gratitude for the blessing the got.
Metanding is a preparation activity prior to big ceremonies. Metanding in daily life is usually done in the form of preparing canang (an offering that consists of flowers and sliced pandan leaves). For daily offerings, Balinese usually use banana leaves as the base of their canang. For big ceremonies, the offerings become much more complex and need many people to prepare them.
This is a communal activity to prepare for big ceremonies. Girls from a very young age have been involved in Mejejaitan so they grow up having the technique and skill to prepare for religious ceremonies. Mejejaitan is mainly making the complex base of an offering using coconut leaves, other palm leaves, and small bamboo slices to put them together.
This is a pre-praying ritual in daily family life in Bali. Mebanten Canang is done by putting canang, incense, and other offerings on pelinggih. Holy water is sprinkled toward the offering as the prayer chants some mantra, praying to the God. Only after this is done, the family can do a proper daily pray (persembahyangan).
Bali is a land of spirituality, many come here to achieve higher spiritual awareness. Some do that by learning from locals, some meditate in quiet places, some by doing yoga. However, Balinese daily ritual is as enchanting and sacred, tourists might find them captivating. When you enjoy the beauty of Bali, remember to always respect the hosts and their religious devotion. Next