More than 17000 islands form Indonesia being Bali the main tourist destination. There are many things that could easily explain why, but appart from the culture, beaches, ricefields, art, people or food… I would like to focus today on some of the curiosities that make up Bali as unique as it is.
First, it is the only island in Indonesia where religion is not muslim, but hinduism. It is called the island of Gods, due to the importance of the religion in balinese daily life. Every few steps you will find a temple, and all hinduist balineses houses have their small temple where everyday Balinese make the offerings (made up of flowers, rice and fruit).
Second, there is a very special and unique hindu celebration which is celebrated only in Bali and it is called Nyepi (“Balinese day of silence”). During this day the whole island shuts down, and people do self-reflection. Balinese do not go to work, do not travel and do not make any kind of noise during 24 hours, and some of them do not even talk or eat anything. Tourists are not exempts to these prohibitions, and they are not allowed to go to the beach or to the streets.
Third, Balinese babies do not touch the ground until they are 3 months old. They are considered pure and holy and if they touch the floor they might become unclean. That’s why, to maintain those first months sacred, babies are always held in someone’s arms (familiy, neighbours, or other community members). It is during the “Nyabutan Ceremony”, 105 days after the baby was born, when the baby touches Mother Earth for the first time.
Fourth, what I also found very curious was the naming system in Bali. There are 4 names, based on the birth order, regardless whether female or male. The firstborn is “Wayan”, second is “Made” third is “Nyoman” and fourth is “Ketut”. They add I as prefix for males, and Ni for females. Following the system, my Balinese name would be Ni Nyoman Irene. What if there is a 5th kid? Then they will start over by using Wayan one more time. Sounds funny, but this is how it works. It is also true that I exaggerated a bit since that there are a few more versions which could be used alternately. But anyways, in case you forget a name, you are very close to guess it easily. Chances are pretty high to come up with the right name.
And last but not least, everytime I say I am Spanish everybody starts talking about football, though this is not the national sport according to what they say. I would also say that they are more passionated about cockfighting, which it is supposed easily found throughout Bali. We haven’t came up with any of those yet, but we have heard about it since our very first day in the island.
The list of curiosities and interesting facts I found so far is pretty long so I would keep writing about it on future posts