Whenever I arrive somewhere new, I’m like a toddler exploring the world for the first time. Everything is new and my eyes are open wide. Being in Bali for the first time, I loved walking around and checking out our neighborhood. We are staying in Sanur right now, which is somewhere between a popular touristy beach town and a sleepy, quiet place. The first thing we noticed is these little offerings.
Sometimes they were in front of temples or religious statues, like this one:
But they were also in driveways, in front of shops, and just about everywhere:
We learned that that it was a local holiday called Kuningan Day, which marks the end of the 10 day holiday of Galungan. People in Bali are very friendly, and one taxi driver on the street told us that the Balinese people use this day to practice dharma, or being compassionate to others. But he said that these are daily offerings, not just for the holiday. A little internet research told us that this is the day that Balinese people believe their ancestors go back up to Heaven after visiting during Galungan. Lots of shops were closed because of this.
Another man approached us on the beach, and started chatting. We kept waiting for him to try to sell us something, but he was just being friendly. He told us that most of the population in Bali is Hindu, even though the rest of Indonesia is Muslim. He said that Indonesia was originally inhabited by natives who had a traditional religion, but then it was mostly Hindu for a long time, until Muslims conquered the area, pushing all the Hindus onto the island of Bali.
What we observed was thousands of Balinese people taking the day to be with family and enjoy themselves. It sounds like many do religious ceremonies, and some travel to other islands for both the ceremonies and to have fun with family. People fly big kites, eat street food, and play in the water. Almost none of the kids playing in the ocean were wearing bathing suits. Instead, they swam in their clothes, rented little floaty ducks, and then changed out of their wet clothes after getting wiped dry with small cloths. Very few people had beach towels, but selfie sticks, cell phones, and motorcycles were common.
It was a happening day for all!
At the end of the week, it also seems like there’s a lot of trash: