I’m in love with the Balinese Hindu culture. The people themselves are beautiful with celebrity worthy smiles, wide eyes, perfect posture and endless patience. But it’s their reverence to the natural and supernatural world that amazes and endows me with a fortunate feeling to simply be among it.
The Balinese are always preparing for a celebration, celebrating or ending a celebration. The celebrations aren’t the superficial party type. They are pensive, meditative, and obligatory. They give appreciation and offerings to everything.
Kuningan Day ends the 10 day Galungan celebration in Bali. Ten days prior to Kuningan, ancestor spirits descend from the heavens and visit. The Balinese entertain the spirits with several offerings and ceremonies, often done at the family temple.
Kuningan represents the final day of spiritual visits and is technically the last day of the Galungan celebration. This is the final day that the ancestral spirits are here on earth. All the decorations and penjors that had been used for Galungan should be removed after Kuningan day ends, but ours are still up.
Offerings for Kuningan
An offering ceremony to appease the evil spirits and honor the good spirits takes place in each home. The owner of our home, Ketut, stops by with heaps of offerings for the gods placed on the temples, mechanical things and entrances of the property.
Women have been preparing the intricately folded palm leaf baskets for days.
The offerings hold fruit, flowers and rice.
Ketut places the offerings respectfully, taking the time to recite and remember the reason why they are done. His hand moves gracefully as he symbolically draws a Hindu symbol in the air with a flower.
Incense sticks are placed. The smoke will find the gods. The gods will find the offerings.
The offerings areplaced at our home temples, near the well pump, the pool pump, our stove, near the trees, at each entrance into the home. We talk as the kids eat the offered fruit, chicken and spicy satay sticks.
It’s another moment in time. One more opportunity to experience the content and kind-hearted spirits of the Balinese.
They are connected.
To each other.
To the earth.
To the sky.
To the spirits.
Like a child, we have much to learn.