Bali is known for its cultural celebrations and ceremonies – they happen almost daily. Some are small, some are large and there’s every size in between. Saturday, January 7th was what they call ‘an auspicious day for trees’, so offerings were made to trees. It also happened to be a day where two of the local villages (I’m in a village 15 minutes outside of Ubud) were having ceremonies. In the morning a neighbouring village had a fairly large celebration which included performances – dance and music. I was lucky enough to witness it. So cool. Two of the staff at the House of Singing Bamboo (my home here) were involved in the performance. Wayan, the driver and pretty much doer of anything, was playing music. Made Sugeta, the gardener, was the main attraction in the dance. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

Made Sugeta performing at the celebration

Made Sugeta comes back out as an ‘old man’

The hand gestures are amazing

Another dancer joins in. He also did a lot of speaking…wish I knew what he said…

Once the ceremony was over, it was time to hop on the motorbike and go home – still in celebration gear. I loved it. And it’s typical of Bali.

Some of the musicians.

Unfortunately we got there after the girls danced. But are they ever beautiful.

The boys performed a warrior dance. Apparently this dance was becoming a thing of the past and not being performed. But luckily there is a resurgence.

The priests close off the celebration with prayers.

Offerings made by the women. I am told there is only one God, but he takes on many forms.

Then later in the evening, my local village had a ceremony as well. Smaller in scope, but beautiful.

My hostess for the evening celebration is Annie. She is the daughter of the chef who comes to the house and cooks us dinner – Made Karsa (more on him later). Annie doesn’t want to speak much, but she made sure I knew what to do and when. She is gorgeous.

The women prepare some of the offerings as the priest performs the prayers.

The offerings. Our driver Wayan’s wife was sitting beside me. I asked her if these take a long time to make. She looked at me like I was a little nuts and said “no, no. These are easy. For big celebrations we make some that are 1.5 meters high. They take a long time.” And…they walk down the street to the temple with these offerings balanced on their head.

The villagers gather on the street for the ceremony.

He is just sooooo cute!

During this ceremony, we held up flower petals at certain times, the priest did his thing, and then you tuck the flowers petals into your hair/pony tail. Clearly, I was a little challenged with that, so I tucked them behind my ears (much to everyone’s delight). Then at the end the priest comes down and sprays you with some sort of vinegar/water mixture, then puts some in your hands (which you drink a few times, then put on your head). This apparently cleanses you – on the inside, exterior, your mind, and a general apology to God. I am now a local. 🙂

Later that night, Wayan and I were off to Denpasar to pick up Jacques.

An auspicious day indeed!