Nearly 3 million people live in Bali today, of which only about 5% belong to a religion other than the Hindu Dharma religion. This minority is made up of about 8,000 Chinese and a handful of Arabs, Indians and Europeans. Of the indigenous people, the Bali Aga, there are not many today. Fewer hundred live mostly in seclusion in a few villages.
The whole life of the Balinese is marked by its deep religiosity, which itself is one of the most colorful of all art, culture and politics.
Life is not, as with many other island peoples, directed to the sea, but inland to the mountains and inland. Altitude, the mountains and the sky are considered sacred, while the depth of the sea belongs to the realm of demons.
People seem balanced and friendly, patience, tolerance and hospitality are among their virtues.
5 times a day handmade sacrificial bowls are provided with incense sticks on the family’s own temples.
The craftsmanship has a special meaning, because the Balinese have always been of an artistic nature. Everything you make is decorated, artfully crafted, filigree carved and painted. This also has a religious background, you want to please the gods.
Of particular importance are two traditional organizations: the Banjar, the popular representative of a village whose power could not be broken by any government for centuries, and the Subak for rice farmers. Here, all the rice farmers work together to keep the irrigation system functioning and to provide each member with the required amount of water.
Every married man must belong to the banjar of his village and appear at the regular meeting places to make decisions for his village. The Banjar regulates the village life so as not to give the state administration more influence.
Establishing a family in Bali is one of the highest duties of a Balinese. A man can become a member of a village community (Banjar) only if he is settled and married.
If you stick to the tradition, you live in larger communities with mother and father, grandma and grandfather, children and grandchildren on the family farmstead.
If you live as a tourist in a homestay, you can watch the hustle and bustle throughout the day, because almost all life takes place in the courtyard of the property.
Older people are addressed with Ibu (= mother) and Bapak (= father). This “title” is placed in front of the name. Younger and peers are spoken to Adik (= younger brother or sister). As tourists one is usually referred to as Tuan, which corresponds to our “Lord” and is a remnant of the colonial era.
Almost all Indonesians like to laugh. This may not always convey something about their true feelings. Nevertheless, one should try to smile back.
Rages and screams are not accepted and create incomprehension and distance. Only in small children an uncontrolled behavior is tolerated. Those who are not in control lose their face in the eyes of the Indonesians.
The main goal of any education is harmony, everything is accompanied with a smile and a certain inner peace.
Embarrassments are avoided as much as possible. It’s embarrassing not to be able to give an appropriate answer, so it’s better to give a wrong one. Because then you do not lose your face. This should be known as a tourist, if you need an information and, for example. asks for the right way.
Expressing this view is also, as it might seem to the tourist, a certain Schadenfreude: crashes. Somebody on the street breaks everything out laughing, because the fallen one is spared the loss of face.
The left hand is dirty, since it traditionally replaced the toilet paper to greet people, to touch or to pass on something, the right hand is always used. Never substitute your left hand.
The feet are the dirtiest part of the body, it is rude to put the soles of the feet on a person.
As a welcome, you only reach your right hand with a light touch. Strong shaking you do not know. Then you bring your hand to his heart.
Shoes should be removed when entering a home and also a shop. If you do not want to be considered a barbarian, you should leave the shoes in your own hotel room outside. For this reason, barefoot running on the road is spoiled.
The hand-waving with the hand is done with the back of the hand, what looks more like we weg weguchen.
It is considered an arrogant and aggressive gesture to point with a finger directly at a person, to cross his arms in front of his chest and to put his hands on his hips.
As far as clothing is concerned, men in public should not walk around wearing shorts and should not show a bare torso. The same applies to women for topless bathing. However, the gradual westernization gradually softens the customs, at least the behavior is tolerated by the tourists.
Under no circumstances may one enter a temple unless one has tied a sarong or a scarf around the waist. You get these things but very cheap in the many shops.
The temple walls and walls are considered sacred. It is forbidden to touch or climb on them. Similarly, blood on the temple floor is taboo, so women are not allowed to enter the temple during their menses.
It is not allowed to bathe in sacred springs. If you get caught, it can be very expensive.
Processions always take precedence, maybe you will have that experience when traveling by car.
On the frequent question of whether one is married and has children, one should always answer yes, because to found a family, is for the Balinese supreme commandment. No children want to meet with incomprehension.
Men and women do not hug and kiss each other in public, even holding hands is considered offensive.