As I mentioned in my previous post about Bali, it was a short trip, and we didn’t venture further than south Kuta. But even in those few days, the beauty I discovered in Bali reached way past the beaches. Sure, the shores are breathtaking, but almost pales in comparison to the richness of culture & the Balinese people. As the only Hindu island in Indonesia, Bali holds firm to it’s traditions & religious convictions. In addition to the Indonesian calendar, they follow their own Hindu calendar, creating even more opportunities for celebration & reflection. According to the 2010 Census, 84.5% of Bali’s 4.22 million population adhered to Balinese Hinduism, 12% to Islam, and most of the remainder followed Christianity.
I felt as I turned each street corner, there was another temple or another structure of immense beauty. Bali is known as the “Island of the Gods” as it’s estimated there are over 200,000 puras [temples] on the island. Offerings are made each morning, and are part of a families regular morning routine.
The consistency of the Balinese is beautiful. Their devotion & dedication is inspiring. The Hindu New Year, knows as Nyepi, is a day of complete silence. All the power on the island is shut off. Even the international airport closes down, which is the only airport in the world to close it’s doors for a holiday. Although, it seems as generations progress that the Balinese Hinduism is less about religion and more about culture. Many young Balinese don’t know the reason for the ceremonies or their significance. It’s just tradition.
Parts of America are the same way. We have the heritage of Christianity, and to many it’s just that, tradition. Church on Christmas and Easter, and no thought for the daily impact of faith on their lives. But faith can’t be confined to just 2 holidays a year. It’s alive & active. If you allow it to be.