25 incredible facts about Bali
More and more tourists come to Bali every year. At the same time, the island doesn’t lose its identity and mystical power. Anyone can become here a millionaire and climb the top of the volcano; have a session with a sorcerer and see the cockfights; visit special temples and observe how local people live. We have gathered 25 incredible facts about Bali to confirm that there is only one «the island of gods» like Bali!
- The name of Bali originated from the word «balin», which means «hero» or «strongman» in Sanscrit. The stress is on the first sillable.
- Where is Bali located?
The island is a part of the province of Indonesia with the same name. It is washed by the Indian Ocean on the south and by the Bali Sea of the Indian Ocean on the north. It’s the southermost border of the Wallace Line, а faunal boundary line that separates ecozones of Asia and Australia.
- Bali is located in the Southern Hemispere behind the Equator in UTC /GMT +8 time zone. When it's 12 pm in Bali, it's 11 pm in New York, 4 am in London, 7 am in Moscow, 1 pm in Tokyo and 3 pm in Sydney.
- Money in Bali is counted in thousands, dozens of thousands and even millions. That comes from the exchange rate of Indonesian rupiah to American dollar, which is always around 14 000 to 1. You can exchange 100 dollars and become a millionaire!
- People from Indonesia and neighboring islands call Bali «the island of Gods» or «Pulau Kayangan». According to local beliefs there are really many Gods here. There is a home temple almost in every Bali house, and everyone can communicate with representatives of the invisible world.
- People in Bali practise religion called Agma Hindu Dharma. It's a mixture of pagan beliefs, Buddhism and Hinduism. Balinese people worship the main Gods, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and the supreme creator of the universe, Lord Sang Yang Vidi Vasa. They also believe that certain gods control nature powers, ocean, storms and volcanoes.
- There is a caste system on Bali, lighter version of the Indian system. The upper-caste representatives are Brahmans. They do educational and spiritual activities; many of them are priests or teachers. The middle-caste representatives are called Kshatriya; they take governmental or managerial positions, also they are managers in companies. The Vaishyas are workers and traders. The Shudras are doing hard work; the main part of people in Bali is of this lowest caste.
- Bahasa Indonesia is one of the most common languages in the world. This is the state language in Indonesia. All local people speak it, and also representatives of other countries; more than 200 million people speak Bahasa Indonesia in Southeast Asia.
- The year 1942 comes on Bali on March 25 of 2020.
This date is defined by the Indian lunar calendar, which is used on the island together with Gregorian calendar, well known to Europeans, as well as the Javan-Balinese calendar Pavukon.
- It's not allowed to leave your house, switch on the light, light the fire and use mobile phones on New Year in Bali (Nyepi). It is celebrated on the First Moon in spring. Usually the date falls on March or April. The celebration lasts four days; Balinese people do special cleansing ceremonies, offer oblations to Gods and make colorful theatrical shows. The climax of the holiday is the Day of Silence, called Nyepi. It comes after the carnival procession of demons; its religious meaning is to hide and trick the evil forces. According to the legend demons come out of the sea, make that everyone has left Bali and leave the island as well for the next year.
- Gunung-Agung, or the Great Mountain is the biggest volcano in Bali. It is 3031 meters high above the sea. There is Pura Basekh, «the mother of all temples» on the island at the root of Agung.
- The biggest volcano eruption of the 20 century was in Bali. Agung volcano became active in 1963 on Eka Dasa Rudra Ceremony, which is held every hundred years. Priests were the first ones who noticed an unusual seismic activity; they got it as a bad sign and proposed to reschedule the ceremony. But the President Sucarno insisted to hold it. On March 18 the volcano erupted; it destroyed thousands of houses and killed dozens of thousands people. Though amazingly the catastrophe hadn't affected Pura Besakih.
- Bali has the culture of polygamy.
Such families are mostly among the upper caste. Balinese families are allowed to have up to four wives if the first one gives a written consent. Unless the husband has this paper, he can go to prison.
- You can see multi-colored umbrellas not only at the beach. Locals call it «tedung», which means «defense». It protects from the sun and saves from troubles and misery. The colors of umbrellas are associated with the main Gods of Hinduism: red is Brahma; green and black is Vishnu; white is Shiva; yellow is Sang Yang Vidi Vasa.
- Sea temples on the coast of Bali make the defensive chain that goes from the east coast to the south. The most famous temples are Pura Luhur Uluwatu and Pura Tanah Lot. They protect the island from the evil forces.
- Young people in Bali have their teeth rasped, canines and four front teeth that look like animal’s teeth. Balinese people believe that a person can get rid of demonic traits this way and get over the main six sins: anger, greed, gloom, lust, pride and drinking. The ceremony is held between 16-18 years or at wedding.
- Women in Bali used to go topless at the beginning of the 20 century. When European people came to the island, this custom became indecent.
- Metro will appear in Bali in 2022.
The project is supposed to improve the situation with the public transport on the island.
- There’s a transition to a parallel universe hidden in the east of Bali. It is considered in Goa Lava Temple, that's why you can meet it in many legends and myths.
You can visit this temple as part of our excursion - "Bali Royal Palaces"
- Rice is the most important food of Balinese people. It is called «nasi», which means «the food». It’s concerned to be the sacred gift of gods and appears in many local myths and legends.
- There are many cows in Bali, but they don't produce milk. It's almost impossible to find milk products on local markets. You can buy milk and cheese only in supermarkets; they are brought from other provinces of Indonesia or from Australia.
- Witchcraft is popular in Bali. White wizards help to overcome the diseases, attract material benefits and see the future. Dark wizards can put a spell on a human or even members of all family.
- Balinese people love traditional local dances: legong, barong and kecak. People show in the dance the struggle between evil and good forces; they make viewers and dancers feel the subtle energies. You can see one of such shows at the sunset in Goddess Saraswati Temple in Ubud or in Uluwatu Temple.
- Cock fight is one of the most popular entertainment in Bali. People breed their own fighter almost in every house in Bali: the rooster is on a special diet; it's like a pet for them. Fights are usually held during ceremonies and in the full moon.
Dreams come true in Bali. Go to the Dreamland beach, make a wish, throw a coin into the sea and just wait. It is going to come true soon!
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