Divine gifts … Aesthetics in the art of Balinese offerings

Temple offerings

As I was strolling leisurely along the shores enjoying the sun setting behind the horizon leaving a glow of spectacular colours, I saw a small crowd of people dressed in local attire carrying baskets of flowers and food heading towards the sea. When asked I was told that this was a purification and cleansing ritual. Strong believers in the supernatural, offerings are considered as means of communication with the invisible world and one day without presenting an offering to the gods would be inconceivable for any Balinese. Offerings are made from simple arrangements on woven palm leaf trays to a more decorative style blending religious and symbolical traditions with their natural artistic flair.
When I first visited the island many years ago there were miles of coastline with pristine beaches devoid of tourists, Kuta was a simple coastal town with a handful of restaurants and few half naked hippies bathing along the sea. The many trendy luxurious hotels that bloomed along the beaches of Legian and Seminyak did not exist, it was much nicer then. Today although the island has changed considerably catering to the rapid growth of tourism, its religious rituals remain unchanged. It is this unique devotional attitude towards their ancestral belief that has made this island one of the few places in the world acclaimed for its timeless charm. For the Balinese, offerings of food, flowers and incense to the gods and the elements promises a state of equilibrium where man, nature and the divine can co-exist in peace and harmony. Daily offerings are always aesthetically and meticulously arranged even if it is meant only for one day.

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Categories: Bali, Indonesia

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