Bali has a lot of unique traditions and cultures. Some are cute, some are cool the others are just weird. Almost every village has their own unique traditions which distinguish it from one another. If you are a Balinese, you would know someone’s origin by the way they talk (dialect). Anyway, here are 10 unique Bali traditions and cultures that are not unfamiliar for the world’s citizens.
1. Ogoh-Ogoh – Bali
Giant dolls parade a day before Nyepi. Ogoh-ogoh is one of my favourite traditions, because it’s involving a bunch of artistic people working together to build this giant scary dolls and then carry it around town to scare away the shit out of evil spirit. In my village, the ogoh ogoh built aren’t too beautiful to look at, but in Denpasar, they’re like masterpieces. The reason is that in my village, there are not many people have enough money to donate to the project, unlike in Denpasar, there are lots of business owner who are willing to help. This is the louder day right before..
2. Nyepi – Bali
You will not allowed to go outside your premise, listen to music (or any entertainment) , light a fire (or any sort of light) and to work. The only holiday that shut the Bali Airport for one full day. Funny thing about Nyepi is that, hotels in Bali provide a Nyepi packages. This packages is some sort of getaway for those who doesn’t want to celebrate Nyepi, some of them are Hindu Bali.
3. Omed Omedan – Sesetan
Omed Omedan literally means ‘pulling each other’, is a traditions exclusively held by Sesetan villagers one day after the Nyepi Day. What happen in Omed Omedan is that two group of youngsters, male and female move toward each other and then one of the girl and the boy on the first line start kissing. While they are kissing, the elders throw waters at them to put out the ‘fire’.
4. Geret Pandan – Bali Age Tenganan
Megeret Pandan can only be seen in Bali Age /ag/ village. It looks dangerous because it’s involving two men fighting with pandan medui (thorny pandan). They pad eachother’s back with their weapon. Their shield is made out of rattan. This is a ceremony to prase the war God; Indra.
5. Ngerebong – Kesiman
Stabbing your own chest with a traditional knife called keris is what Ngerebong is. This tradition is held in Kesiman village, precisely in the Temple of Pengerebongan. Despite the sharpness of the dagger, the performer don’t get any harm because of the magical spell from the Mangkus.
6. Ternunyan – Kintamani
Terunyan villagers never bury the departed, instead they just laid them down near a big tree which release a very strong smell. The strong smell come out from the tree is what keeping the dead bodies smell from coming out (it doesn’t smell bad around the ‘cemetery’), it acts as a neutraliser.
7. Megibung – Karangasem
Traditionally, Balinese enjoyed eating together off one large plate or banana leaf at ceremonies or during preparation for ceremonies. People would sit cross-legged around it helping themselves with their right hand and scooping a mixture of food onto a banana leaf or eating it straight off the main plate. This communal way of eating is called megibung. In East Bali, the Karangasem Regency, people still practice the megibung style of eating at ceremony times. It is a very intimate and social way of sharing food, as well as being more economical and better for the environment: no plates, plastic or cutlery!
8. Mekepung – Jembrana
Bull race! The tradition of Jembrana citizen inspired by the farming process. The word ‘mekepung’ means ‘chasing’, so it’s a bull race everybody!
9. Ngejot / Mesesajen – Bali
Ngejot or mesesajen is what most (if not every) Balinese do every morning. The sesajen is an offering of what they cook in the morning, Balinese won’t eat what they cook before ‘mesesajen’ (the verb of sesajen meaning to offer a sesajen).
10. Potong Gigi – Bali
Metatah is when Balinese scrape the 6 fang upper teeth with the purpose of eliminating the bad attitude (sad ripu). Normally it’s done before the marriage ceremony or before that.
There are actually a lot more unique Bali traditions and cultures, I will post that later.