We went to a neat evening Kecak dance show which consists of lots of chanting by many men. They provide all the music for this by group grunting and chants. Sounds off-putting but it’s very compelling. Then a story is acted out with dance and show ends with one of the characters walking and then sitting on a large fire and jumping around on it. He was wearing a grass skirt at the time so not sure how all that worked.
Every house here in Bali has its own temple. If the house is the Balinese style compound then it’s quite a large one but even small places have little temples outside. And everyone puts out little trays of offerings each morning during prayers. These are leaf bowls with flowers, fruit, rice, candy, often a cigarette, etc. inside. You have to step over all of them on the sidewalks and driveways as they are outside each house or shop. These are done to thank the gods for what has been given and is a constant everywhere.
People also visit the temples and celebrations crop up many times. We stopped at one temple and were lucky enough to catch a big event that re-dedicates the temple and happens every six months. Lovely dancers and watching the holy man bless the water and then sprinkle it on everyone was interesting. Children were with their parents and chatted and wandered around but there was no crying or running around misbehaving. Parents did not mandate the children sit down quietly but they just did – with no tears or stress. Very rarely do you see a baby or young child crying here as needs are taken care of and children are cherished.
We have also seen a few cremations including one in the parking lot next to where we enter our spot of the beach. It involves many hours of music playing and people sitting in chairs talking and eating before they set the sarcophagus on fire. Each area of Bali has slightly different rules on this. Here in Sanur, they will cremate right away if it is a natural death but if the person dies of an accident or suicide they bury the body for a year or so until an auspicious date is found whereupon they dig the person up, cremate them, and then sprinkle the ashes in the ocean. Further inland one cultural group does not cremate but covers the body with bamboo and leaves them under a tree to let nature take its course. I was told this does not smell.
It was rather strange though sitting in our beach loungers with a cremation taking place a few hundred meters from us. Then I thought it rather nice. Better than standing in the cold and rain to say a few words at a gravesite. How nice for the family to sit around at the beach eating, drinking beer and perhaps telling funny stories of the person. I like that better! As a note, the pictures are not of the cremations as that felt too intrusive.