Balinese – Indonesia

balinese religionThe vast majority of the Balinese follow one religion – Hinduism that is mixed with pre-Hindu mythologies and Animism, and Buddhism. A minority of creole Balinese in Bali that are descended from Javanese Muslim fathers and Balinese mothers follow Islam – more commonly in a nominal way.

Another even smaller group of Balinese – which total up to about 30,000 of them- are actually Sasak refugees – either follow Christianity or more commonly, a blend of Christian beliefs that is blended with Hinduism. This group of people, however are considered socially inferior and were regarded as outcasts. Many of them might be either the wives of Caucasian husbands or children of Dutch or British men and Balinese women. An even smaller group of Balinese, who were largely considered as aborigines, perhaps with a thin veneer of Hindu influence, follow the traditional Balinese Animism in remote villages.

Balinese’s music and dances

Gemalan is Balinese traditional music. It is a large ensemble, consisting of up to 40 musicians playing varying sizes of tuned gongs, bronze kettles, bronze metallophones, bamboo xylophones, drums, cymbals and flutes fill the night air . It performs for traditional occasions and ceremonies.

The Balinese dance-drama is an ancient tradition, descended from the Indian Hindu epics that were told in song and dance. Today these dances, sometimes lasting all night, are still often performed for rites of passage and festivals. The specific hand and arm movements are distinctively characteristic of Balinese dancing.

Kecak is an unique Balinese danse as it is not accompanied by any music.The rhythm is provided by a chanting ‘monkey’ chorus. The polyrhythmic sound of the chanting provides the name, ‘Ke-chak’. The story line for the Kecak is taken from the Ramayana, where Prince Rama goes hunting for a golden deer and his beautiful wife is kidnapped by the evil Rawana.

Balinese’s Ceremony

Tooth filing or known as ‘mapandes’ or ‘matatah’ locally, is one of the most important Balinese Hindu ceremony. The procedure of this ceremony is dulling someone’s canine teeth before marriage, but for girls, after the first menstruation.The family who held this ceremony will normally invite their relatives, neighbors and friends. It’s almost always adjunct of another ceremony, perhaps wedding. back to home.

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