Balinese Hinduism is deeply interwoven with art and ritual, and is less closely preoccupied with scripture, law, and belief than Islam in Indonesia. Balinese Hinduism lacks the traditional Hindu emphasis on cycles of rebirth and reincarnation, but instead is concerned with a myriad of hyangs, the local and ancestral spirits. As with kebatinan, these deities are thought to be capable of good or harm. Balinese place great emphasis on dramatic and aesthetically satisfying acts of ritual propitiation of these spirits at temple sites scattered throughout villages and in the countryside.
The Balinese temple is called Pura, and unlike the common towering Indian Hindu Temple with interior space, the Balinese temple is designed as an open air worship place within enclosed walls, connected with series of intricately decorated gates to reach its compounds. Each of these temples has a more or less fixed membership; every Balinese belongs to a temple by virtue of descent, residence, or some mystical revelation of affiliation. Some temples are associated with the family house compound (also called banjar in Bali), others are associated with rice fields, and still others with key geographic sites.
Hindu religion or Hindu Dharma is held by almost 95% of the population. Its teaching is to reach peace and harmony of life guided by Wedas as Holy Scriptures. Hindu Dharma is a special blend of Hinduism, Buddhism and ancestor worship that has been flourishing over centuries. The believe in One Supreme God called Ida Sanghyang Widhi Wasa, with His three manifestation known as Tri Sakti, that are Brahma, the Creator, Wisnu the Preserver, and Siva the Transformer.
There are three things guiding the spiritual life of the Hindu Balinese people which are Tatwa (philosophy), Susila (etiquette/moral codes), and Upacara (rituals).
Tatwa tells about the Panca Crada, the five principle beliefs which are beliefs in the existence of:
- Brahman : the God head
- Atman : the soul
- Samsara : reincarnation
- Karma : the law of cause and effect
- Moksha : unity with God / Nirvana
Galungan and Kuningan Days
Galungan and Kuningan Day is the Hindu red-letter day commemorative by Balinese Hindu every six-month or 210 days Balinese Calender. Hindu people especially in Bali very enthusiastic welcome their holidays because on this day they do the pray as Balinese Hindu worshiping to the infinite (Ida Sang Hyang Widi Wasa) supremacy as this world creator. This matter is seen very striking when we enter the Balinese life where one month before the day of Galungnan and Kuningan they have prepared all the materials concerning the religion activities and life.
Before the day of Galungan and Kuningan, Hindu people in Bali are looked to be very busy to prepare the religious ceremony appliance and the beautiful view can be seen throughout Bali Island is the installation of Penjor (the high bamboo and curve dotted with the coconut leaf) in each front of their house. Something else that we can meet is the pig amputation collectively to fill their devoting. Other attractions of Barong Dance and activities also can be found. On this day they execute the praying in the temple along with their family to worship the infinity and their ancestor utilize to ask prosperity, safety and the pardon from all mistake which have been made
Hari Raya Saraswati is the goddess of learning, science, and literature. She rules the intellectual and creative realm, and is the patron goddess of libraries and schools. Balinese Hindus believe that knowledge is an essential medium to achieve the goal of life as a human being, and so honor her. She is also celebrated because she succeeded in taming the wandering and lustful mind of her consort, Brahma, who was preoccupied with the goddess of material existence, Shatarupa. On this day no one is allowed to read or write, and offerings are made to the lontar (palm-leaf manuscripts), books, and shrines.
Saraswati Day is celebrated every 210-days on Saniscara Umanis Wuku Watugunung and marks the start of the new year according to the Balinese Pawukon calendar. Ceremonies and prayers are held at the temples in family compounds, villages and businesses from morning to noon. Prayers are also held in school or any other learning institution temples. Teachers and students abandon their uniforms for the day in place of bright and colourful ceremony gear, filling the island with color. Children bring fruit and traditional cakes to school for offerings at the temple.
Hari Raya Nyepi is a Hindu Day of Silence or the Hindu New Year in the Balinese Saka calendar. The largest celebrations are held in Bali as well as in Balinese Hindu communities around Indonesia. On New Year’s Eve the villages are cleaned, food is cooked for two days and in the evening as much noise is made as possible to scare away the devils. On the following day, Hindus do not leave their homes, cook or engage in any activity. Streets are deserted, and tourists are not allowed to leave hotel complexes.
Nyepi is determined using the Balinese calendar (see below), the eve of Nyepi falling on the night of the new moon whenever it occurs around March/April each year. Therefore, the date for Nyepi changes every year, and there is not a constant number of days difference between each Nyepi as there is for such days as Galungan and Kuningan. To find out when Nyepi falls in a given year, you will need information on the cycles of the moon for that year. Whenever the new moon falls between mid-March and mid-April, that night will be the night of great activity and exorcism island-wide, while the next day will be the day of total peace and quiet, where everything stops for a day.
This day is devoted to God’s Manifestation as Dewi Saraswati, the beautiful Goddess of Knowledge, Art and Literature. On this day, books of knowledge, manuscripts and the Wedas are blessed and special offerings are made for them. The holy day of Saraswati is named after the Hindu goddess of knowledge, learning and wisdom, Dewi Saraswati. Hindu philosophers view wisdom as something beautiful and attractive, therefore feminine.
In iconographic form, Saraswati is depicted as a radiantly beautiful woman wearing a crown and a sari who sits on a lotus flower, accompanied by a swan and a peacock. In Her four (sometimes depicted as two) arms She holds items symbolic of the values of knowledge and learning, including lontar (palm-leaf scriptures), rosary beads and a lute (veena). In the Balinese version, however, Saraswati is often seen standing, wearing a Balinese dance costume, and Her Indian lute has been replaced with an Indonesian spiked fiddle
Saraswati is naturally an important religious day for schools and places of learning. Students are expected to attend school in Balinese traditional dress and pray while all the books and other learning material are blessed by teachers and priests. Even many alumni return to their schools or universities to take part in worship.
The name literally means ‘iron fence’, on which day ceremonies and prayers are held for strong mental and spiritual defense in welcoming the Galungan holiday.
Pagerwesi Day, which falls on Wednesday, Buda Kliwon Sinta (Balinese Calendar), is the third most celebrated holidays in Bali after Galungan and Nyepi Day. Balinese Hindus celebrate Pagerwesi every six months (210 days) according to the pawukon calendar systems. Pagerwesi derived from words “pager (fence)” and “wesi (iron)”, simply “iron fence”, is a day to strengthen one’s fortification against evil.
Pagerwesi is dedicated to honour Siva, the God manifestation as Hyang Pramesi Guru (the main Guru), and has a very close relationship with Saraswati day. It falls three days after Saraswati day, and there’s continuity meaning between them. In Pagerwesi people honour the main Guru (God or Siva) that transferred knowledge during Saraswati day. It also means that the knowledge must be protected from bad influences and misuse.
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