Bali cannot be described in few words: this time we are not in front of a simple, primitive culture, but rather of a very complex, ancient society, whose culture is the result of continuous contact with nearby civilizations, expecially India but also China, from where the Balinese people apparently came in the first place.
Very different, Bali, also from nearby islands: the relationship with religion, a form of hinduism mixed with ancient traditions, is continuous. There are temples everywhere, complemented by temporary ones marked by pieces of cloth (orange and white, or black and white, to represent the fight between good and evil) or small umbrellas. We see umbrellas even in the sea, probably to bless the nearby nets.
And you do not see all days a temple inside an ATM cubicle!…
The concept of holy trinity, initially intended as three different manifestations of the same god Siva and then evolved in the Trimurti (Brahma, Siva and Visnu) and the concept of the 5 components of everything (fire, water, clay, air and spirit) as well as the 3 component of the human being (body, thought and soul) are ever-present and continually referred-to in the temples’ architecture.
Intriguing also the concept of the tower with an empty throne (for the god) at its top!…
Even the salutation gesture, with the hands clasped together, symbolizes the opposition between good and evil, as well as the temples’ doors.
It’s ionteresting to note that in many of the ritual dances, full of rigidly defined characters and gestures, the conflict between good and evil does not end with a clear victory of one over the other, but rather in a stalemate until the next fight.
Among the characters, the Barong, a sort of horse/dragon with a tiger’s head, quite probably of chinese origin, is the god of good, despite being quite ugly! Also the statues of the door guardians, to be seen in front of every temple door, are meant to terrorize the evil spirits with their looks.
Pity that tourism has spoiled a little the people’s behaviour, although they remain in general very friendly and smiling (and beautyfull as well: it’s very infrequent to see ugly or fat people, and especially kids and young girls are generally quite beautyfull!).
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