Saturday, 7 January 2012

What could you offer the gods?

There are other some really interesting things about Bali I wanted to tell you about. When I think of Ubud I instantly think of rich colours, lush greenery, weather so humid it's almost swamp-like and Balinese music, which is traditionally played on an instrument called a gamelan. It sounded vaguely familiar to me at first and you may also think it is repetitive, but it's not. There is, however, something a bit creepy about it for me (I mean that with no offence intended at all). The actual sound of the gamelan is pleasant, but the music it makes is... I can't put my finger on it. They play it in a lot of places - even the arrivals "hall" (basically a small room) at the airport.

Have a listen and tell me what you think, or if it reminds you of anything. Feel free to skip this step by the way! I'm just trying to fully get across what my experience in this lovely place was like.

The next thing that was new to me in Bali was the Canang - or daily offerings - that turn every street into a colourful symbol of faith. These are basically little handmade baskets containing flowers, rice, incense and a variety of other presents for the gods. I saw different offerings include sweets, cigarettes, biscuits and even money! There are many reasons why these baskets amazed me; they're intricately woven and involve quite a bit of handiwork, they're beautiful, they're placed on pavements, doorsteps and even supermarket tills, and they are a sometimes thrice-daily ritual for Balinese Hindus (the majority of Balinese people follow this type of the religion) who believe that the gifts will appease the gods and help to keep demons and evil spirits at bay (there is a bit more to it than that, but that's the gist. The video below also explains it a little more).

The sad thing is, once the baskets are put in their place, it's not long until they blow away, get trampled on or a dog eats them. Apparently though, this doesn't matter, because by then the energy from the offering has done its job. For some reason this ritual fascinated me - especially when at the supermarket I was paying for some things and a woman comes over, puts a basket on the receipt printer, lights some incense, then recites some words while flicking water and flowers over the rice! You can see exactly what I'm talking about in the video below - it's at about the 4.30 mark. It's just so peaceful and serene, and beats being asked if I have a Nectar Card.

One of my favourite pictures from my whole trip is this one. It's a collection of the baskets on a pavement one afternoon.


And here's the video... definitely worth a watch!

Comments encouraged as always!

1 comment:

  1. Gamelan music is nice. I wonder what happens to your brain when it's going all day every day though, does it become something you don't notice or does it explode your head.