Ceremonies in Bali fascinate me. I think it is because of the dedication of the Balinese people to perform ceremonies notwithstanding the progress of times and pressures there might be from the tourism industry, they are able to keep part of their identity and be the country so loved. Shops, restaurants, bars close and go quiet for days during Nyepi and surf lessons start 4 hours later because a goat should be slaughtered for a temple ceremony (whatever the tide!).
There are a few ceremonies I encountered during my last trip that surprised me as a foreigner. For example Tumpek Landep, the ceremony day for the machines or metallic objects. People can’t drive a new car, scooter, motorbike, until this day and the new gadget has received offering and was part of the ceremony. 4 Times a year this ceremony will take place, so you better plan your purchase well or it may stand still for a while. In addition to transportation vehicles any machine in the house will receive a small offering, and note that we are talking stoves, refrigerators, washing machines and the likes. You can imagine that this is a big day.
Or Tigang Odalan, this is the first big ceremony for a child after birth and takes place in the family compound. It is performed on the 105th day and is the day that a child attains a normal state and may enter temples. It is the day that the baby first touches the ground – described as a return to the earth. Before this day the baby will always have been carried around. I don’t really see this happening in the Western culture.
The taxi driver that drove us one day, mentioned that ceremonies are a daily chore for his wife and one of the main reasons that she doesn’t work. He mentioned that in addition from the daily offerings she will do (there are 20 spots in his house that need to receive a daily offering), she takes care of over 40 ceremonies for the family a year. I just hope that the Balinese will be able to keep this dedication and remain true to their identity with the world evolving so fast.